Among Title VII’s less-used provisions is its prohibition of discrimination on the basis of “national origin”, but the New Mexico Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Garcia v. Hatch Valley Pub. Schs. may breathe new life into the hoary prohibition. No. 33,310, 2015 N.M. App. LEXIS 120 (N.M. Ct. App. Nov. 16, 2015). In Garcia, the New Mexico Court of Appeals addressed two questions under the New Mexico Human Rights Act which the Court held “tracks Title VII”. Id. The questions were: 1) is “non-Hispanic” a protected category; and 2) are plaintiffs in “reverse discrimination” cases subject to a heightened standard for making out a prima facie case of discrimination? Id. The Court held “non-Hispanic” to be a protected category and rejected the contention that “reverse discrimination” cases, in terms of burdens of proof, should be treated differently than cases brought by African-Americans and Hispanics.
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