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ARCHULETA v. SULLIVAN
November 21, 1989
CLEOTILDE ARCHULETA, Plaintiff,
LOUIS W. SULLIVAN, M.D., SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Defendant
George H. Revercomb, United States District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: REVERCOMB
GEORGE H. REVERCOMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
This matter is before the Court pursuant to Defendant's motion to transfer this matter to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
Plaintiff is a Hispanic female over the age of forty who was formerly employed as a clerk/typist by the National Institutes of Health which are divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services. Plaintiff contends that she was denied salary increases and was ultimately removed from her position in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 791, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.
A. Title VII and Rehabilitation Act Claims
The venue rules for a Title VII action are set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3) which provides, in pertinent part:
The venue provisions of Title VII also apply to causes of action which are brought under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 29 U.S.C. § 794a(a)(1).
Plaintiff contends that the venue provision of Title VII does not control in actions against the federal government and that the venue provision of 28 U.S.C. § 1391 applies under which the District of Columbia would be an appropriate venue. Plaintiff premises her argument on two grounds.
First, Plaintiff cites § 2000e-16(c), which provides in pertinent part that an employee or applicant for employment
may file a civil action as provided in section 2000e-5 of this title, in which civil action the head of the department, agency, or unit, as appropriate, shall be the defendant.
Plaintiff contends that because § 2000e-16(c) employs the term "defendant" Congress was not contemplating that the venue provision of Title VII would apply to suits against the federal government because § 2000e-5(f)(3) uses the term "respondent." This argument is patently frivolous. Section 2000e-16(c) expressly states that an employee or applicant for employment "may file a civil action as provided in section 2000e-5 of this title. . . ." There is no qualification in § 2000e-16(c) that § 2000e-5 only applies in part and that subsection 5(f)(3) does not control. This Court is unwilling to rule that the venue provisions of Title VII are inoperative in actions against the federal government where there is no clear statutory basis that Congress so intended.
Plaintiff's second ground for arguing that the venue provision of Title VII does not apply is that a committee report to an early Senate draft of § 2000e-16(c) provided that:
It is intended that the employee have the option to go to the appropriate district court or the District Court for the District of Columbia after either the final decision within his agency on his appeal from the personnel action complained of or after an appropriate appeal to the Civil Service Commission or after the elapse of 180 days ...
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