Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Professor Pagnattaro argues that courts should allow claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) to enforce international labor rights for alien workers. She begins by reviewing the history of the ATCA and the developing jurisprudence in the international labor context, including recent and pending cases involving employee ATCA claims against U.S. multinational corporations. After outlining what is necessary to assert an ATCA claim, including what is required to satisfy jurisdictional requirements, to state a claim under the law of nations, and to hold employers liable for violations of the law of nations, she details international foundations which can be used to support employee claims under the ATCA; addresses common legal challenges to ATCA claims; and discusses the remedies and their potential shortcomings, under the ATCA. Ultimately, she concludes that there is sufficient international consensus about core labor rights, as evidenced by widely adopted international agreements, treaties, and conventions, to support ATCA claims, making this statute an important method of enforcing core labor rights. In general, U.S.-based multinational companies engaged in a global enterprise should be aware that treatment of workers in violation of the law of nations may subject them to ATCA liability in U.S. federal courts.