Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



With an increasing number of United States corporations locating and affiliating overseas and United States citizens seeking employment with multinational corporations, the debate over the extraterritorial application of United States discrimination laws has attracted greater international attention. The 1991 amendment to Title VI1 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, religion, sex, or national origin, specifically provides for extraterritorial application of Title Vii. The foreign compulsion defense, however, limits the scope of Title VII's application abroad and raises the issue of whether U.S. corporations can claim this defense when foreign governments informally compel violations of the Act. This Note addresses the issues surrounding extraterritorial application of Title VII and the statutory and practical limitations imposed by the foreign compulsion defense. It analyzes proposed standards for determining whether United States multinational corporations are liable for violations of Title VII that are committed to avoid sanctions for breaching informal policies of host nations. This Note concludes that principles of international comity should shield companies subject to informal governmental compulsion from liability for Title VII violations.