Illegal Aliens May Not Pursue Title VII Claim


Egbuna v. Time-Life Libraries, No. 95-2547, 1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 20227 (4th Cir., August 19, 1998).

In a Per Curiam opinion, the Fourth Circuit held that a Nigerian Title VII plaintiff was not qualified for a job because he lacked a valid work visa. At the time he was hired at Time-Life, Egbuna had a valid student work visa issued by the INS. Although the visa expired six months later, Time-Life never noticed and Egbuna remained employed. During this time, Egbuna corroborated allegations of sexual harassment made by his co-worker against a supervisor. Egbuna thereafter voluntarily resigned and intended to return to Nigeria. When Egbuna later reapplied for a job at Time-Life, he did not have a valid work visa and was therefore unauthorized to work under the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The Court refused to allow Egbuna to pursue a Title VII retaliation claim, noting that illegal alien plaintiffs, by statute, could not be considered "qualified" and that to allow such a claim would undermine the enforcement of immigration laws.