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ANDERSON v. GROUP HOSPITALIZATION

October 23, 1985

SYLVIA ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
GROUP HOSPITALIZATION, INC., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER

 MEMORANDUM OPINION

 This is a race-discrimination-in-employment proceeding. The plaintiff, Ms. Sylvia Anderson, a black and former employee of Group Hospitalization, Inc. ("GHI") sought damages and equitable relief under both 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-1 et seq. Before trial plaintiff's counsel dismissed companion claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

 The § 1981 claim was tried to a jury. The jury returned a verdict of $ 100,000 damages for plaintiff. Judgment for plaintiff was entered on the verdict. GHI made a timely motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict which the Court denied.

 The Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law which follow, relate to the plaintiff's Title VII claims.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Ms. Anderson began her employment with GHI in October 1972, directly after finishing high school and secretarial school. She began as a Grade 4 Clerk earning $5,784.00 a year.

 2. During the next 5 1/2 years because of the quality of her performance, plaintiff was promoted successively to MT/ST Operator (Grade 5), Secretary (Grade 6), Assistant to the Supervisor (Grade 7), Training Instructor (Grade 8) and Assistant Supervisor (Grade 10). She held the last title and grade from May 14, 1978 until her termination on July 31, 1981. In addition to these promotions she regularly received salary increases based on annual performance appraisals of "competent" or better. Her final salary on July 31, 1981 was $19,462 per year. (PX 2-6; Stip. 1 to 3.) *fn1"

 3. In her initial position as Assistant Supervisor within the Marketing Services Department of GHI's Marketing Division plaintiff assisted in supervising a clerical and support staff for marketing and sales of health insurance to small groups. In the summer of 1979 the Manager of the Marketing Services Department, Kay Viverette, a white supervisor, asked plaintiff to transfer to the Small Groups Section of that Department headed by Reba Sue Dodd. Ms. Viverette told her that she would be "an asset" in her new job. Plaintiff agreed and the transfer was completed in October 1979. (PX 2; Stip. 7-9.)

 4. Plaintiff worked as Assistant Supervisor to Reba Sue Dodd, a white, until May of 1980 when Ms. Dodd resigned. The two worked well together -- consulting regularly and jointly sharing supervisory responsibilities. This was a time of stress for their section as well as for the entire Marketing Division because GHI had been steadily losing sales because of increased competition. Moreover, the Small Groups Section had been reorganized and given greatly increased sales responsibilities with more complicated coverage options to offer customers. This, in turn, caused a corresponding increase in paperwork and overall work for the Small Groups Section. (Stip. 4-6.)

 5. Plaintiff's annual performance appraisals at GHI were rendered on a November to November cycle. In 1978 she received a "superior" rating from her supervisor with the majority of her performance indicators either "superior" or "outstanding." In 1979, because of her mid-year transfer, Kay Viverette prepared plaintiff's performance appraisal and gave her a "competent " with 50 percent of her performance indicators as "superior." The new Vice-President of the Marketing Division (white) had announced that, because of the need to improve sales performance, everyone in that Division would initially be rated "competent" until they proved otherwise.

 6. When Reba Dodd left GHI in May 1979, she recommended that plaintiff be appointed as her successor. However, Kay Viverette informed plaintiff that she lacked sufficient experience for the position. The position was later filled by Susan Feist, a white from another Division of GHI. Susan Feist and Viverette had previously worked together in the past. Unlike plaintiff, Ms. Feist had no previous experience in marketing. (Stip. 11-13.)

 7. In June 1979, just after Ms. Feist's appointment, Ms. Viverette gave plaintiff a 6-month interim performance review of "competent " with 7 of 10 indicators "superior" or "competent ." Ms. Dodd testified for the plaintiff and stated that she would have given her an "outstanding" rating for the preceding six months.

 8. When Feist arrived to supervise the Small Groups Section, she declined plaintiff's and Ms. Dodd's offers for a briefing on the current work and personnel, stating that she intended to make her own judgments and considered briefings a waste of time. Ms. Feist promptly reallocated the supervisory functions. She worked mainly with the sales and service representatives in the section and assigned the plaintiff to the responsibility for the increased and time-consuming paperwork. After a brief period she stopped taking plaintiff to staff meetings in Viverette's office or even to other outside meetings as the plaintiff had experienced before Feist became supervisor. Her stated reasons were that one of them should be in the section at all times. Feist ...


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