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- 06-11-2012, 07:20 PM #1
Seventh Circuit ruling has clarified that illegal aliens aren’t protected
Seventh Circuit ruling clarifies that illegal aliens aren’t protected
Denver Business Journal by Bill C. Berger
Date: Monday, June 11, 2012, 6:00am MDT
Illegal aliens are not a protected class, according to a recent decision by the Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The case was decided under the country’s leading anti-discrimination law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Title VII prohibits discrimination against employees “because of” their membership in a protected class. The statute lays out which classes are protected at work. Protected classes include race, color, creed, gender, etc. This case involved national origin.
The Illinois case was titled Cortezano v. Salin Bank & Trust Co. The plaintiff was a bank employee who became a manager. She was married to a man from Mexico. With his wife’s help, he opened several accounts. She was a joint owner of one account. He ended up returning to Mexico “to sort out his citizenship status,” quoting the court, and “around that time,” the plaintiff admitted to her supervisor that her husband had been in the United States illegally and wasn’t authorized to work here.
Concerned about the possibility of bank fraud, the supervisor consulted with bank security and brought the plaintiff in to discuss the matter. She admitted her husband had entered the United States illegally and hadn’t been authorized to work here. She said that he’d gone to Mexico and hoped to return soon, legally.
She alleged the bank mistreated her at the meeting and afterwards. She claimed her supervisor “screamed at her” and called her husband a pejorative. She said that he repeatedly called him an “illegal alien from Mexico.” The matter was further investigated. The investigative report, she said, “harped on the fact that [her husband] was an ‘illegal alien.’”
Another meeting was held. She brought her attorney, and the bank allegedly refused to let the attorney sit in. As an aside, if that were true, the bank was clearly within its rights. Attorneys don’t have a right to insist on being present in their client’s private [nonpublic] employment meetings. When she went to leave that meeting, she claimed the company warned her that walking out would be deemed job abandonment. She left and was terminated.
The Seventh Circuit correctly held that, even if all that were true, she had no claim under Title VII. Again, Title VII prohibits discrimination “because of” national origin. Here there was no evidence that the bank discriminated against her because of national origin.
The Seventh Circuit broke her claim into two parts. First, she was claiming discrimination not because of anything to do with her, but because of something to do with her husband. This kind of claim often is called an “association” claim. For example, a Caucasian male employee might claim he was discriminated against because his wife is African-American. Being African-American is a protected class (race). Some courts have held that a spouse’s association with a protected class member is enough to protect the spouse as well. The Seventh Circuit hasn’t yet addressed association theory and declined to do so in this case.
The Seventh Circuit didn’t need to address association theory because, even if it did apply the theory, nothing in the plaintiff’s evidence raised an issue as to her husband’s national origin. “Even assuming that Title VII applies to discrimination against one’s spouse, (the plaintiff’s) claim falls short because it is based on (her husband’s) alienage, which is not protected by the statute,” the court wrote.
Again, all the evidence was that the bank — if her evidence was believed — discriminated against her because her husband was an illegal alien. Being an illegal alien isn’t a national origin or a race. Nothing in Title VII, or any other law, protects illegal aliens as a class of people.
“Any discrimination suffered by (the plaintiff) was not the result of her marriage to a (person of) Mexican (national origin), but rather the result of her marriage to an unauthorized alien,” the court wrote.
The Seventh Circuit reached the right result. If the Seventh Circuit had held otherwise, companies wouldn’t be able to discharge individuals who purport to be authorized to work here, but aren’t.
It’s a significant ruling with clear implications. Individuals who are working in the United States aren’t protected from discrimination “because of” their unauthorized work status. Companies are free to discharge such individuals if they learn of their unauthorized work status. In this case, the company was even free to discharge the person’s spouse.
On the other hand, employers and such individuals should remember the clarity of this ruling is likely limited to the case’s facts. There was no evidence the company had a problem with Hispanic or Mexican individuals in particular. Had there been such evidence, the Seventh Circuit would have had to look at the case differently. That also would have required it to decide whether to recognize association theory.
Seventh Circuit ruling clarifies that illegal aliens arenâ€™t protected - Denver Business Journal
Last edited by Newmexican; 06-20-2012 at 12:32 PM.
- 06-11-2012, 09:51 PM #2
- 06-12-2012, 06:27 AM #3
what bank did she work for?Proud American and wife of a wonderful LEGAL immigrant from Ireland.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing." -Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
- 06-12-2012, 09:57 AM #4
More on the suit... Read the Court's ruling at the link below. the Bank was Salin Bank & Trust of Indiana.
Cortezano v. Salin Bank & Trust Co.
Federal 7th Circuit Court
Citation Case Number:
May 21, 2012
S.D. Ind., Indianapolis Div.
Affirmed and remanded in part
Dist. Ct. did not err in granting defendant-employer's motion for summary judgment in Title VII action alleging national-origin discrimination based on plaintiff's marriage to Mexican citizen whose presence in U.S. was unauthorized. Record showed that plaintiff was terminated after defendant became concerned that plaintiff's husband was illegal alien who used fraudulent documents to open accounts in defendant's bank, and Title VII does not cover any discrimination based on status as illegal alien.
Cortezano v. Salin Bank & Trust Co. | Illinois State Bar Association
- 06-12-2012, 12:36 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
This was easy, but it's still good. Being an illegal immigrant has nothing to do with your national origin and the constitution does not protect you from discrimination.
Next we need some kind of legal observation that confirms the other obvious lie being promoted by those protecting illegal immigrants. Persecuting illegal immigrants has nothing to do with race. Since the constitution speaks to discrimination regarding race and religion in the same part, then there should be some court precedent that establishes one or the other.