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Garland's Digest on Employment Discrimination Law
online since 1997



Disclaimer: The case on which this summary is based may no longer be current law. Also, if the case was decided on summary judgment, the court recited the "facts" in the light most favorable to the non-movant, which may not be the true facts.


ADEA does not protect foreign nationals who apply from foreign countries for jobs in the U.S.

Reyes-Gaona v. North Carolina Growers Ass'n, Inc., 250 F.3d 861 (4th Cir. May 22, 2001) - The North Carolina Growers Association (NCGA) is an American corporation that assists agricultural businesses in North Carolina in securing farm labor through the federal H-2A agricultural worker program. This program allows agricultural employers to employ foreign workers on a temporary basis where those employers anticipate a labor shortage for temporary or seasonal jobs. Del-Al is an agent of NCGA that recruits H-2A workers for NCGA and its members. Luis Reyes-Gaona, a Mexican national over age 40, went to a Del-Al office in Mexico seeking employment via the H-2A program. Del-Al told Reyes-Gaona that NCGA would not accept workers over forty years old unless that person had previously worked for NCGA. The issue is whether Reyes-Gaona is protected by the ADEA. It is a longstanding principle of American law that laws are meant to apply only within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States unless Congress clearly expresses an intention otherwise. Prior to 1984, many courts held that the ADEA had a purely domestic focus and did not cover American citizens working for American companies in foreign countries. In 1984, Congress amended the ADEA so as to include any U.S. citizen employed by a U.S. company in a workplace in a foreign country. But nothing in the amendment regulates age discrimination by U.S. corporations against foreign nationals in foreign countries. Therefore, the Court finds that Congress did not intend foreign nationals in foreign countries to be protected. Reyes-Gaona and the EEOC argue that Reyes-Gaona should be protected because the "workplace" for which he was applying was in the U.S. But the Court rejects this argument. Click here to see actual case.





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