her main strength. The following day, Ficks called Suib's office, but he was out; she spoke to Becker, who declined to discuss the decision further in light of Ficks's announced intention of filing a discrimination claim. Ficks then called Murphy, the EEO officer. Finally on March 7, 1986, she called Suib; when Suib declined to discuss the successful applicant because of privacy considerations, Ficks threatened to file an EEO complaint, which she eventually did.
No evidence was presented of any direct evidence of animosity toward Ficks because of her birth in the Soviet Union. In fact, the selecting official's ancestors came from Russia around the turn of the century, and he displayed no overt hostility toward the plaintiff. Plaintiff adduced absolutely no evidence of any animosity toward her because of her national origin. Finally, the record simply fails to support plaintiff's suggestion that fears about her ability to travel to the Soviet Union were a factor.
The relevant Title VII law is fairly settled and applies straightforwardly to the facts of this case. It is unlawful to fail or refuse to hire an individual for federal employment because of the individual's national origin. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(a) (1982). Jurisdiction is proper before the Court as plaintiff has fully exhausted her administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c).
To establish a prima facie case of disparate treatment, a plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that she: 1) is a member of the protected class; 2) applied for the job in question; 3) was qualified; and 4) despite her qualifications, was rejected and another employee not of the protected class was selected. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973).
Once plaintiff establishes a prima facie case of disparate treatment, the burden shifts to defendant to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for plaintiff's nonselection. Texas Department of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 254, 67 L. Ed. 2d 207, 101 S. Ct. 1089 (1981). The defendant's burden is one of production, not persuasion. "It is sufficient if the defendant's evidence raises a genuine issue of fact as to whether it discriminated against the plaintiff." Id. at 254-55.
Once the employer rebuts the plaintiff's prima facie case, the plaintiff must then prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the reasons offered by the defendant were a pretext for discrimination. Id. at 253. Plaintiff may demonstrate pretext directly by showing that a discriminatory reason more likely motivated the employer or indirectly by showing the employer's explanation is unworthy of credence. Id. at 256. "The plaintiff retains the burden of persuasion." Id.
In this case, Ficks clearly establishes that she is a member of a protected class by virtue of her birth outside the United States, that she applied for the job of Program Coordinator, that she was qualified for the job, and that she was rejected and a native-born citizen of the United States was selected. The defendant successfully rebuts the plaintiff's prima facie case by credibly and convincingly asserting that Guroff was selected because of her superior qualifications. Plaintiff's several attacks on the reason offered by defendant fail to carry her burden of persuading the Court that a discriminatory reason more likely motivated the personnel selection or that the reason is unworthy of belief.
Ficks has provided no convincing evidence that the selecting official, Suib, did not believe that she could return to the Soviet Union, much less that he was motivated by such a belief to reject her application. Suib denies that it was a factor, and the Court finds his statement credible and sufficient. Ficks also has failed to show that the proffered reason was merely a smoke screen for preferential treatment of Guroff because of her husband's position at USIA; again, Suib's denial that this was a factor is essentially unchallenged by Ficks, who was attempting to influence the selection process herself. Finally, the Court concludes that Guroff was qualified for the position in that she has sufficient "comparable" experience to satisfy the specialized knowledge requirement. Thus, Ficks fails to show the proffered reason for Guroff's selection (superior qualifications) was pretextual.
Accordingly, the Court finds for the defendant. An appropriate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
After the trial of this matter to the court and for the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion, it is this 6th day of April, 1988,
ORDERED that judgment is granted for the defendant and this case is dismissed.
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