417 F.3d 418 (4th Cir. 2005), 03-1679, Venkatraman v. REI Systems, Inc.

Docket Nº:03-1679.
Citation:417 F.3d 418
Party Name:Kirthi VENKATRAMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. REI SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:July 29, 2005
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 418

417 F.3d 418 (4th Cir. 2005)

Kirthi VENKATRAMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,



No. 03-1679.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

July 29, 2005

Argued Feb. 25, 2004.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. T. S. Ellis, III, District Judge. CA-03-278-A

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Naren Chaganti, Town & Country, Missouri, for Appellant .

Merrell B. Renaud, SQUIRE, SANDERS & DEMPSEY, L.L.P., Tysons Corner, Virginia, for Appellee.

Before WIDENER and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges, and William D. QUARLES, Jr., United States District Judge for the District of Maryland, sitting by designation.


WIDENER, Circuit Judge:

Alleging racial and national origin discrimination, wrongful discharge, and violations of federal immigration law, Kirthi Venkatraman sued his former employer, REI Systems, Inc. (REI). The district court dismissed the complaint, and we affirm.


Venkatraman is an American citizen of East Indian origin. He worked for REI as a software engineer from July 2001 until March 2002, when he was fired. His complaint alleges that REI only paid "full overtime consideration" to white employees and that he was "not compensated on par with white employees." He alleges that REI allegedly fired him when he complained of this unequal treatment, and he suffered emotional distress as a result.

Venkatraman also claims that in order to hire foreign workers under the H-1B visa program, REI violated 8 U.S.C. § 1182(n) by falsely representing to the Immigration & Naturalization Service that a shortage of qualified U.S. workers existed. According to the complaint, REI also misrepresented that it would pay its H-1B workers the same as its U.S. workers, when it in fact intended to pay the foreign workers less.

The complaint asserts claims of "employment discrimination – unequal treatment" (First); "wrongful discharge in violation of public policy" (Second); "infliction of emotional distress" (Third); and "violation of U[.]S[.] immigration laws" (Fourth). REI moved to dismiss, and the district

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court granted the motion. Venkatraman now appeals the dismissal of the First, Second, and Fourth causes of action.


We review de novo a district court's dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). In general, a motion to dismiss will not be granted unless a plaintiff can prove no set of facts which would support his claim and entitle him to relief. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). In considering a motion to dismiss, we accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Mylan Labs, Inc. v. Maktari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993).


Venkatraman first contends that the district court erred in dismissing his employment discrimination claim. The district court construed this claim, which alleges that REI paid Venkatraman less than its white workers and fired him for complaining of this treatment, as arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.(2003). It then dismissed the claim for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Before filing a Title VII suit, a plaintiff in Virginia must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the alleged violation. Edelman v. Lynchburg Coll., 300 F.3d 400, 404 (4th Cir. 2002). As the district court recognized, this statutory prerequisite is mandatory: a violation not made the subject of a timely charge is "the legal equivalent of a discriminatory act which occurred before the statute was passed" and is "merely an unfortunate event in history which has no present legal consequences." United Air Lines v. Evans, 431 U.S. 553, 558 (1977).

Venkatraman does not dispute that he failed to file a charge with the EEOC. Instead, he argues that Count I alleges facts sufficient to support a claim under Title VI, which prohibits discrimination "under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." 42 U.S.C. § 2000d (2003). REI counters that Venkatraman waived the Title VI argument because he failed to raise that jurisdictional basis before the district court.

Initially, we note that the precise question at issue is whether Venkatraman has stated a cause of action under Title VI, not whether federal jurisdiction exists under Title VI. See...

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