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WINSTON v. SMITHSONIAN SCI. INFORMATION EXCH.

September 7, 1977

LAURENCE D. WINSTON, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
SMITHSONIAN SCIENCE INFORMATION EXCHANGE, INC., et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT

 Findings of Fact

 I. History of the Proceedings.

 1. This action, filed December 18, 1975, charged the Smithsonian Science Information Exchange (sometimes hereafter "SSIE" or the "Exchange") and its president, Dr. David F. Hersey (hereafter "Hersey"), with employment discrimination against blacks and other minority groups in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., and the Fourteenth Amendment. (Compl. para. 1).

 2. The case was brought as a class action by Laurence D. Winston, Thurmus E. King, Julian Anthony Adams, and Tyler Stevens Gates (hereafter "Winston," "King," "Adams," and "Gates"). (Compl. paras. 1, 4-7, 10).

 4. By Order dated March 23, 1977, the Court granted defendants' motion for partial summary judgment and dismissed from the case King, Adams, and Gates on the ground that their asserted claims were time-barred.

 5. On March 25, 1977, the Court issued its Order and Memorandum Opinion denying class certification.

 6. Trial commenced on June 8, 1977, and concluded on June 15, 1977. Winston called ten witnesses, including himself, and introduced 70 exhibits. The defendants called ten witnesses and introduced 53 exhibits. Although the trial dealt only with Winston's own claims of racial discrimination, he was not so limited in his proof but was allowed to introduce evidence of the alleged class discrimination as evidence to support his individual claim.

 II. The Parties.

 7. Plaintiff Laurence D. Winston, Sr. is a black male, age 33, married with three children. After graduation from high school in 1961, Winston spent four years in the United States Air Force, during which he was trained as an air policeman and commercial transportation specialist and studied psychology at the University of New Mexico. He received an honorable discharge and came to work for the Exchange on October 18, 1965, as a GS-2 file clerk. (Winston Tr. 14-16, 28).

 8. After just under nine years at the Exchange, during which he worked in the file room, the supply room, and the Office of the President, Winston was asked to resign or be fired in August 1974. From May 23, 1974 on, Winston had a pending employment discrimination complaint. He resigned on August 21, 1974. (Winston Tr. 28-29, 118-19).

 9. While at the Exchange, Winston took courses in records management at the Department of Agriculture, commercial art at Columbia Technical Institute, and was studying business administration part time at Prince George's Community College at the time of his resignation. He has been attending Prince George's continuously since 1973. (Winston Tr. 15). When he came to the Exchange, Winston had no supervisory experience and no college degree or college credits.

 10. The Smithsonian Science Information Exchange is a national repository for scientific research data. It originated in 1949 as the Medical Sciences Information Exchange, funded by six government agencies. In 1953 it became the Biosciences Information Exchange and came under the aegis of the Smithsonian Institution. It became the Science Information Exchange in 1960, and in 1971 was incorporated as a private non-profit corporation under the laws of the District of Columbia and renamed the Smithsonian Science Information Exchange. (Winston Tr. 17; Hersey Tr. 440-41; DX 37).

 11. The Exchange appears as a line item on the annual Smithsonian Institution federal budget, from which it receives approximately 60% of its revenues. The remaining 40% is derived from user fees, of which the majority comes from agencies, grants or contracts. (Hersey Tr. 440, 517-19; DX 37; PX 63 *fn1" ).

 12. Since its inception, SSIE has existed as a private corporation comprised of private-roll employees. It presently consists of just under 100 employees, a total which was just under 150 in 1964 and has gradually decreased over the years since 1964. (DX 9-11).

 13. Accompanying this development has been the increasingly advanced automation of the Exchange's data-processing operations. (Winston Tr. 18-23; PX 1-6; DX 35-37).

 15. The employees in the Data Processing Division and Office of the President, and their predecessors, are the so-called "nonprofessional" employees referred to in this proceeding. (Winston Tr. 20; Compl. para. 12).

 16. The majority of nonprofessionals from 1964 to the present have been employed in the Data Processing Division, as it is now known, which has generally been divided into four or five branches, and the larger branches (such as Reports, Registry, Input Services) have generally been divided into two or more sections. (DX 8-10).

 17. Defendant Hersey, since January 1972, has been the President of SSIE.

 III. The Evidence.

 18. In September 1965, Winston applied to SSIE for employment as a file clerk, having been referred to SSIE by the United States Employment Service. (Tr. 16; Winston Dep. 509).

 19. On or about October 18, 1965, Winston was hired as a file clerk at grade 2, step 1 -- the position for which he applied. (Tr. 23, 28; Winston Dep. 509). His starting salary was $3,680 per year. (DX 53 #213).

 20. His employment by SSIE was Winston's first significant full-time civilian employment. Earlier he had been employed by National Car Rental Company from about August 5 to August 30, 1965, following his discharge from the Air Force.

 21. Upon his employment by SSIE Winston was assigned to the file section under the supervision of Zeta Offutt *fn2" (hereinafter Offutt) where he remained until about January 1966, at which time he was ...


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