Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MANSOUR RASUL v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

March 4, 1988

Mansour Rasul, Plaintiff,
v.
District of Columbia, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT

 JOHN H. PRATT, United States District Judge

 Plaintiff, a Muslim minister, brings this action against the District of Columbia Department of Corrections ("Department") and one of its officers, charging that the Department denied him a position as prison chaplain because of his religious affiliation. Plaintiff was not considered for this position because of a recently abandoned policy of the Department under which chaplains were recruited and hired on a denominational basis. Plaintiff charges, inter alia, that the policy violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., as well as infringing upon his rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution. After reciting the facts of this case, we explain our basis for concluding that defendants' policy violated Title VII's proscription against religious discrimination. We do not reach the First Amendment issue.

 BACKGROUND

 Although the salient facts of this case were canvassed in our Memorandum Opinion of November 6, 1986, we restate them here for ease of reference and to incorporate subsequent events. Lorton Reformatory is a large prison compound located in Lorton, Virginia, and administered by the District of Columbia. For years the Department has solicited volunteers to administer to the religious needs of inmates incarcerated at Lorton and at the District of Columbia Detention Facility. In addition, and as explained more fully below, the Department hires chaplains to serve the various sections, or "facilities," within Lorton. *fn1" These chaplains organize and implement a religious program for those inmates who request such services.

 Mansour Rasul is a Muslim minister, or "imam," who has received advanced degrees in both theology and criminal justice. In April 1983, Rasul signed an agreement with the Department authorizing him to provide volunteer services to Lorton inmates. In August of that year, Rasul applied to the Department to fill a chaplain vacancy at the Central Facility in Lorton which had been announced on July 29, 1983. Although the vacancy announcement stated that "all qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to . . . religion," it nonetheless specified that a "Protestant Chaplain" was being sought. Ex. B to Defendant's Memorandum in Support of Summary Judgment ("Def. Memo"). Moreover, the announcement stipulated that

 Id. In a paragraph entitled "Brief Statement of Duties," the announcement explained that the successful applicant would be responsible for planning, directing and maintaining a total Religious Program for the Central Facility." Id. The announcement proceeded to delineate specific duties of the position in terms which, with two exceptions, were not geared to the applicant's particular religious affiliation. *fn2"

 On September 5, 1983, the vacancy announcement was reissued in corrected form to advertise two vacancies instead of one. Of the applicants for these posts, personnel specialists in the Department compiled a list of five applicants deemed qualified. Plaintiff's name did not appear on the list. Defendant James F. Palmer, Director of the Department, reviewed the list and, in November 1983, selected two Protestant ministers to fill the chaplain vacancies. Thereafter, by letter dated January 19, 1984, Palmer notified Rasul that he was not considered for the chaplain positions because "the vacancy announcement specified that the Department was seeking to fill a Protestant Chaplain position," and that "as a Muslim Imam you were not eligible for consideration . . . ." Ex. 2 to Plaintiff's Opposition to Summary Judgment ("Pltf. Opp.").

 At the time these two vacancies were advertized, it was the Department's "policy" to recruit chaplains on a denominational basis. Def. Memo at 3. On December 12, 1983, however -- one month after the vacancies were filled -- Palmer circulated a Department memorandum announcing a "policy of advertising for Chaplain positions on a non-denominational basis." Def. Memo at 4; Def. Memo Ex. L. Pursuant to that policy, three additional chaplain vacancies were announced on July 25, 1984. Plaintiff applied, and was selected to fill one of these positions in October 1984, approximately fourteen months after the denial of his original application. Plaintiff continues to hold this position, and has consistently received superior performance evaluations.

 Plaintiff filed an administrative complaint for religious discrimination with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights in March 1984, and a duplicate complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity commission in April 1984. Both administrative agencies found insufficient grounds to support plaintiff's charges. Thereupon plaintiff filed this action, premising his complaint on the aforementioned federal statutory and constitutional grounds in addition to alleged violations of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, D.C. Code § 1-2501 et seq. (1981). *fn3"

 After extensive discovery efforts, and development of an equally extensive factual record, defendants have now renewed their request for summary dismissal. We ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.