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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

November 6, 2014

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD., Defendant - Appellee

Page 758

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 1:12-mc-22014-JEM.

For EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff - Appellant: Paula Rene' Bruner, Donna J. Brusoski, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of General Counsel-Appellate Services, WASHINGTON, DC; Robert K. Dawkins, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionM ATLANTA, GA; Wifredo A. Ferrer, Kathleen Mary Salyer, U.S. Attorney's Office, MIAMI, FL; Kimberly Ann McCoy, City Attorney's Office of Miami Beach, MIAMI BEACH, FL.

For ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD., Defendant - Appellee: David Michael DeMaio, Gregory Robert Hawran, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, PC, MIAMI, FL; A. Craig Cleland, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, PC, ATLANTA, GA.

Before ED CARNES, Chief Judge, and RESTANI,[*] Judge, and MERRYDAY,[**] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 759

PER CURIAM

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" the EEOC" or " the Commission" ) appeals the district court's denial of the EEOC's application for enforcement of its administrative subpoena issued to Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (" RCCL" ). After careful consideration and with the benefit of oral argument, we affirm.[1]

BACKGROUND

In June 2010, Jose Morabito, an Argentinean national who was employed by RCCL as an assistant waiter on one of its cruise ships, filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Mr. Morabito alleged that RCCL violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 12112, when RCCL refused to renew his employment contract after he was diagnosed with a medical condition. Mr. Morabito had been diagnosed with HIV and Kaposi Sarcoma, but he had been declared fit for duty by his physician.

RCCL responded to the charge with a position statement contending that (1) the ADA was inapplicable because Mr. Morabito was a foreign national who was employed on a ship flying the flag of the Bahamas and (2) because RCCL's ships are registered under the law of the Bahamas, RCCL was required to follow the Bahamas Maritime Authority (" BMA" ) medical standards for seafarers, which allegedly disqualified Mr. Morabito from duty at sea.

After receiving RCCL's position statement, the EEOC requested a list of all employees discharged by RCCL since 2010 pursuant to the BMA medical standards. RCCL objected, asserting that the ADA did not cover foreign nationals working on foreign-flagged ships and that the information sought was not relevant to Mr. Morabito's charge.

The EEOC ultimately issued an administrative subpoena, which included requests for the following information[2] :

(1) List all employees who were discharged or whose contracts were not renewed [from August 25, 2009, through present[3] ] ...

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