Espinoza v. Farah Manufacturing Company, Inc.

PETITIONER: Espinoza
RESPONDENT: Farah Manufacturing Company, Inc.
LOCATION: Bureau of Indian Affairs

DOCKET NO.: 72-671
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 414 US 86 (1973)
ARGUED: Oct 10, 1973 / Oct 11, 1973
DECIDED: Nov 19, 1973

ADVOCATES:
George Cooper - for petitioners
Kenneth R. Carr - for respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Espinoza v. Farah Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 10, 1973 in Espinoza v. Farah Manufacturing Company, Inc.
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 11, 1973 in Espinoza v. Farah Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - November 19, 1973 in Espinoza v. Farah Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and the opinion of the Court in 72-671 Espinoza against Farah Manufacturing Company would be announced by Mr. Justice Marshall.

John Marshall:

This case is here on writ of certiorari to the Fifth Circuit.

This case involves the interpretation of the phrase “National Origin.”

In Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Mrs. Espinoza, a citizen of Mexico who resides in San Antonio, was refused employment by Farah Manufacturing Company because she is not a United States citizen.

We hold today that an employer's refusal of the hirer person because he or she is not a United State citizen does not, standing by itself, constitute employment discrimination on the basis of the quoted words National Origin.

We reach this holding in line for the most part on the clear indication that Congress did not intend to turn national origin to embrace citizenship requirements.

Two points deserve emphasis.

First the question presented is not whether Congress has the power to prohibit private discrimination because of alienage nor whether Congress itself discriminate against non-citizens in federal employment.

The question is not what Congress can do or should do, but what Congress did in the Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act.

Second, the record in this case, conclusively shows that Farah did not discriminate against persons of Mexican National Origin.

In fact, 96% of Farah’s employees are of Mexican National Origin, as was the individual hired in Mrs. Espinoza’s place.

The company’s policy and our holding is limited to a citizenship requirement which is applied in an ethically neutral manner barring employment of a blue eyed blond haired citizen of Sweden, a black skinned citizen of Nigeria or a Spanish speaking citizen of Mexico.

Discrimination against persons of Mexican national origin, like discrimination against women or Negroes is also forbidden under Title 7, but nothing in Title 7 was intended to prohibit an employer from applying a racially neutral and ethically neutral requirement of United States citizenship.