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April 28, 1980

Sylvia H. GEE, Plaintiff,
Daniel J. BOORSTIN, Defendant

The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER


In this litigation plaintiff, Sylvia H. Gee, seeks redress under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.). She charges the Library of Congress with racial discrimination during the course of her employment; that the Library maintained and sanctioned discriminatory practices and policies against her as a black and denied her promotional opportunities to which she was otherwise entitled. During the trial a number of witnesses were presented. Their testimony has been fully considered; their credibility carefully weighed and assessed. The Court has also considered the various trial exhibits and counsel's final argument.

 After a consideration of the relevant testimony and evidence the Court determines that the Library of Congress has not rebutted plaintiff's allegations of discrimination. The clear, convincing and overwhelming evidence and testimony, worthy of belief, supports the plaintiff's cause of action, and she is entitled to appropriate relief. The Court's finding and conclusions are set forth in this bench ruling.

 Mrs. Gee is a 50-year-old black female. She has been employed continuously at the Library of Congress for more than 24 years.

 Before her employment she had several years of college work at Howard University, in this city, and subsequent to her appointment at the Library had pursued limited work at Maryland University.

 Her cause of action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is against the Library's Chief Executive Officer, Daniel J. Boorstin. She alleges that she was the victim of discrimination based upon race and sex and reprisals during the course of her employment.

 The present litigation arose when in 1975, she applied for a GS-10 supervisory position in the Searching Unit of the Catalog Publication Division.

 She was not selected for that position and now claims that her rejection was based on racial and sexual discrimination, and that during the course of her employment she has been subjected to reprisals, harassments, and retaliatory measures arising because of her race and her sex and because of her involvement in efforts to eliminate discriminatory employment practices at the Library.

 Mrs. Gee was first hired in 1956, as a GS-3 Library Assistant in the Copyright Office.

 In October, 1962, six years after serving in the GS-3 position, she was then promoted to a GS-4 in the Union Catalog Division.

 By the end of 1962, she received another promotion, to a GS-5.

 In 1963, she was promoted to the position of Library Assistant (Searcher-Editor) GS-6.

 In October of '65, Mrs. Gee was temporarily promoted to GS-7, Library Assistant in the Catalog Maintenance and Publication Division.

 She became a Library Technician, GS-7, in January, 1968, and later she was promoted to a GS-8 Reviewer in August, 1974, in the Catalog Publication Division.

 On August the 20th, 1975, the Library of Congress posted a notice seeking applicants for and announcing a position to be filled, namely, that of Supervisor, Searching Unit, in the Catalog Publication Division.

 The posting set forth the minimum qualifications and requirements for an applicant's eligibility.

 The qualifications and requirements were initially developed and written by an administrative assistant to the Chief of the Catalog Publication Division, who was not a personnel specialist, nor was she called by the Government to offer testimony as to her qualifications and experience or the bases upon which she developed material included in the posting. Testimony concerning this was supplied from other sources.

 Later, what the administrative assistant had developed was reviewed and revised by Mr. Glen Zimmerman, who is now the Chief Personnel Officer of the Library.

 After Mr. Zimmerman signed off, a final review was undertaken by the Personnel Office of the Library of Congress. At this point in time, Mr. John Reamy served as plaintiff's second line supervisor.

 He was also the selecting official, and his selection or recommendation was submitted to Ms. Fay Wexler for final action.

 Mrs. Gee applied for the position in question. At that time, she had been continuously employed in the Searching Unit since 1968.

 She was among the several finalists considered, and was interviewed by Ms. Fay Wexler, the Assistant Chief of the Catalog Publication Division. Ms. Wexler is black.

 A black male Library of Congress employee who was then on board was selected for the position. He declined and accepted a position elsewhere in the Library.

 On November 25, 1975, the position was reposted.

 Mrs. Gee was again considered, but an outside white female applicant who had no prior Library of Congress experience or employment was selected on March 15, 1976.

 The testimony of the Government showed that the selecting officials had considered and determined that Mrs. Gee was not qualified for the supervisory position.

 Despite that determination, however, she was not advised of the decision in 1975, but, rather, she was interviewed and otherwise led to believe that in the judgment of responsible Library officials that she was being considered in good faith and was eligible for appointment.

 While the plaintiff's application was considered for the second posting, she was not interviewed in the second round.

 The plaintiff immediately reacted to her non-selection, and on April the 8th, 1976, filed a discrimination case or complaint, based on race and sex, because of the Library's failure and refusal to promote her to the GS-10 position.

 Her efforts to seek relief and redress at the agency level were denied, and this litigation then resulted.

 The GS-10 position in question then became available in June, 1975, when Mr. James Goetz, who had been supervisor of the Searching Unit, and who was remarkably lacking in supervisory ability, was reassigned elsewhere in the Library because of employee dissatisfaction and criticism.

 Mr. Goetz had served in the supervisory position for eight years or more and his supervisory deficiencies and problems were well known and documented by Library officials.

 He had supervised the plaintiff continuously until his reassignment in June of 1975.

 In January of 1975, a number of employees in the Searching Unit petitioned the Library in writing, expressing their grievances and opposition to Goetz's conduct and performance as a supervisor.

 They alleged various types of harassment, intimidation, lack of sensitivity, improper attitude, and other problems long associated with his supervision.

 The Library was aware of Mr. Goetz's deficiencies, but because they regarded him as otherwise proficient and knowledgeable of his work, they made no move to correct a notoriously poor supervisory situation until the employees acted.

 To resolve the problem, he was allowed "to resign" and I say that advisedly, and then he was transferred to another position in the Catalog Publication Division.

 The new position to which he was assigned was at a GS-9 level as Assistant Editor.

 Two aspects of this transfer are very interesting. First, it afforded him an increase in salary. But even more interesting, and somewhat puzzling, the next month he received a within-grade salary increase based on a certification of "an acceptable level of performance."

 Mr. Goetz is white. He had been the plaintiff's immediate supervisor for more than five years prior to his transfer. Throughout that period their relationship was strained and the testimony shows that he and a second-line supervisor in the Division, John Reamy, also white, ignored and avoided plaintiff and treated her in a far different manner than other employees in the Searching Unit.

 His performance evaluations portrayed her in a negative light.

 Mrs. Gee had signed the protest petition against Goetz. The other signatories to the petition, with one exception, were all black.

 In the period of the late 1960's, and particularly in the early 1970's, Mrs. Gee earned a reputation as an employee who was greatly concerned with racially discriminatory practices in the Library of Congress. Particularly during the period of the seventies, she was identified as a member of the Black Employees of the Library of Congress, otherwise known as the BELC.

 She served as Public Relations Officer and on the Board of Directors of that organization. In general, she was an active participant in that organization, and in other union activities at the Library.

 Her efforts and concerns were to upgrade and to improve the working conditions and the lot of black employees.

 In the time frame of the early 1970's, the Library of Congress was not covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The BELC lobbied Congress for inclusion of the Library under Title ...

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