Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Arabian American Oil Company

PETITIONER: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
RESPONDENT: Arabian American Oil Company
LOCATION: County of Riverside: District Attorney

DOCKET NO.: 89-1838
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1990-1991)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 499 US 244 (1991)
ARGUED: Jan 16, 1991
DECIDED: Mar 26, 1991

ADVOCATES:
Kenneth W. Starr - on behalf of the Petitioners
Paul L. Friedman - on behalf of the Respondents

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Arabian American Oil Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 16, 1991 in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Arabian American Oil Company

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 26, 1991 in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Arabian American Oil Company

William H. Rehnquist:

I have the opinion of the Court to announce in No. 89-1838 EEOC versus Arabian American Oil Company.

In this case, petitioner, Alley Buraslon, a naturalized US citizen born in Lebanon and working in Saudi Arabia, was discharged by his employer, ARAM Co., a Delaware corporation.

After filing a charge with the EEOC, he filed suit with the Federal District Court seeking relief under tittle seven of the civil Rights Act of 1964 on the ground that he had been discriminated against because of his race, religion, and national origin.

The District court dismissed the claim and the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirm saying that there was no subject matter jurisdiction because tittle sevens protection did not extend to United States citizens employed abroad by American employers.

In our opinion filed today, we agree that tittle seven does not apply extraterritorially to regulate the employment practices of the United States firms that employ American citizens abroad.

The evidence offered by petitioners to demonstrate a congressional intent that tittle seven apply extraterritorially while not totally lacking in probative value, simply false short of demonstrating the clearly expressed affirmative congressional intent that is required to overcome the well-established presumption against extraterritorially.

That is, the presumption says that ordinarily, laws passed by congress are presumed to apply only within the United States.

We find unpersuasive petitioner's argument that tittle sevens alien exemption provision which renders the statute inapplicable to an employer with respect to the employment of aliens outside any state clearly manifests the necessary intent.

An absent that clearly is showing that we have here, we will not ascribe to congress a policy which would raise difficult international law issues by imposing this country's employment discrimination regime upon foreign corporations operating in foreign commerce.

Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Blackmun and Stevens have joined.