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In 1971, Congress enacted the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in order to settle land disputes between Alaska Natives and the federal government. ANCSA established Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), which were tasked with managing settlement funds to provide for the health, education, and economic welfare of Alaska Natives. To enable the ANCs to promote the interests of their shareholders, Congress exempted ANCs from certain employment restrictions contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, but did not exempt ANCs from other worker-protective legislation. In subsequent decades, courts reviewing the preferential practices of ANCs have often construed these statutory exemptions narrowly, thus exposing ANCs to liability under various anti-discrimination statutes. This Article argues that Congress never intended to subject ANCs to these pieces of worker-protective legislation, despite court holdings to the contrary. The Article proposes two possible solutions to this discrepancy: (1) congressional amendment of ANCSA to clarify and further limit the extent of ANC liability; and (2) judicial adoption of a two-part test which would consider employment policies giving preference to Alaska Native shareholders in light of Congress’s intent to protect such preferences.
Gregory S. Fisher & Erin “Faith” Rose, Selling Ice in Alaska: Employment Preferences and Statutory Exemptions for Alaska Native Corporations 40 Years After ANCSA, 31 Alaska Law Review 1-35 (2014)
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/alr/vol31/iss1/2