EEOC v. Maritime Autowash, Inc., No. 15-1947 (4th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Maritime employed Elmer Escalante, an undocumented alien, at one of its two full-service carwashes. After Escalante filed a complaint against Maritime with the EEOC for discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., the EEOC issued a subpoena seeking information from Maritime related to Escalante’s charges. The parties disagree on how Escalante’s undocumented status affects the EEOC’s authority to investigate his charges. The district court denied the EEOC's application for subpoena enforcement. The court held that the EEOC’s subpoena, designed to investigate Escalante’s Title VII charges, is enforceable. In this case, the plain language of Title VII provides a "plausible" or "arguable" basis for the EEOC's subpoena where Title VII allows any "person claiming to be aggrieved" to file charges with the EEOC, and nothing explicitly bars undocumented workers from filing complaints. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded.