ethnicity. Ms. Baker also testified that Ms. McColl treated her former Deputy, Trudy Downer, quite severely, denying Ms. Downer vacation and sick leave when she was ill with cancer.
14. Plaintiff also points to the advancement of three other secretaries in Regional Service Division as evidence of race discrimination. These three white females, Diannah Vann, Sophia Atsalinos (Rielh) and Joan Henry, received on-the-job training and were allowed to assume non-secretarial duties by their supervisors. As a result, Ms. Vann and Atsalinos were promoted. (Ms. Henry left the Agency). Ms. Diannah Vann was selected for a career ladder GS-7/9 Budget Analyst trainee position. However, the position was cancelled and she was never promoted to a GS-7 budget analyst position while at AID. She subsequently left the Agency. Ms. Sophia Atsalinos (now Rielh) moved into the administrative field and, more recently, the personnel field. She is now a GS-12 personnel specialist.
15. The Regional Services Division had very different personnel needs than the Funds Control Division. Regional Services Unit more than forty employees and numerous secretarial positions. The Funds Control Division was a much smaller division and had only one secretarial spot. There were no GS-7 secretarial positions in the Funds Control Division during the relevant time.
16. Finally, plaintiff's friend and immediate supervisor, Ms. Baker, who is black, testified that she would have willingly trained plaintiff had plaintiff so requested. Plaintiff, however, never made such a request.
II. Conclusions of Law
A. Plaintiff's Failure to Receive On-The-Job Training
Plaintiff claims that she has been unable to advance into a career ladder position, specifically the position of Budget Analyst, because of her lack of on-the-job training. Plaintiff contends that this training was denied by reason of supervisor McColl's discriminatory animus.
Plaintiff has established a prima facie case of race discrimination. Plaintiff belongs to a protected group and she apparently was qualified to receive Budget Analyst training. The parties dispute whether plaintiff actually was denied on-the-job training as plaintiff's immediate supervisor testified that she would have informally trained plaintiff had plaintiff made such a request. However, the record is clear that Ms. McColl denied plaintiff's request for formal on-the-job training.
There is also a question as to whether persons "similarly situated" to plaintiff were given on-the-job training. Plaintiff points to Ms. Vann, Henry and Atsalinos (Rielh), three whites who received on-the-job training and subsequent promotions to Budget Analyst positions. Although these women were in a different unit with different labor needs, given the fact that there were no other "similarly situated" people in plaintiff's small unit, the other division is useful at least for purposes of establishing a prima facie case. In view of all of the circumstances -- plaintiff's superior ratings, her sincere willingness to work towards advancement, and the utterly inappropriate comments made by Ms. McColl -- there is an inference of unlawful discrimination while plaintiff was in the Funds Control Division. See Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253, 67 L. Ed. 2d 207, 101 S. Ct. 1089 (1981). (There is no evidence whatsoever suggesting that plaintiff was a victim of race discrimination while in the Regional Services Unit. She only worked there a few months before requesting a transfer to her old unit.)
The burden then shifts to defendant to rebut the presumption of discrimination by producing evidence that the plaintiff was rejected for a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason. Texas Dept. of Community Affairs, supra, 450 U.S. at 254; McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973). Defendant AID explains that plaintiff's training request was rejected because there were no Budget Analyst positions available in the Funds Control Division, nor would there be in the near future. The Agency was obviously in a state of reorganization and flux. There was a major reorganization in 1972; from 1973 to 1975, there were significant personnel reductions and downgradings; there was a total freeze in the number of employees in the Office of Financial Management; and, ultimately in 1975, there was a Reduction in Force. Having produced evidence from which this Court could rationally conclude that the employment decision had not been motivated by discriminatory animus, defendant has rebutted plaintiff's presumption. See Texas Dept. of Community Affairs, supra, 450 U.S. at 257.
The burden now returns to plaintiff to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the presumptively legitimate reasons offered by the defendant were not its true reasons, but were a pretext for discrimination. McDonnell Douglas Corp., supra, 411 U.S. at 804. Plaintiff points to Ms. McColl's comments, the on-the-job training of Vann, Rielh and Henry and the promotion of Vann and Rielh. Certainly, the McColl statements weigh in favor of plaintiff's claim of pretext. However, the Court can not ignore the fact that all of the Budget Analysts under Ms. McColl were black and, that prior to 1974, the two other Budget Analysts were black and Hispanic. Most of these individuals were promoted while under McColl's supervision. Given the testimony about Ms. McColl's insensitivities to the other employees in her unit and the overwhelming evidence of the personnel cutbacks within the Agency, this Court can not conclude that McColl's denial of plaintiff's request for training was motivated by race.
Nor does the training and promotion of three secretaries in Regional Services Division demonstrate defendant's animus. The two divisions had significantly different personnel needs. The Funds Control Division had only one secretary, whereas Regional Services had several and more than 40 people in the entire unit. Even so, plaintiff has not demonstrated that the training given to the three other secretaries differed in any way from the training available to her. Plaintiff's immediate supervisor testified that she would have gladly trained plaintiff informally had she so requested. Ms. Rielh testified that her training was informal. Presumably, Ms. Vann's training was also informal as she simply moved her desk to a different area. In light of all of the evidence presented and given the uncontroverted evidence of the Agency's significant personnel cutbacks during the relevant time period, this Court can only conclude that it is more likely than not that race played no part in any personnel action affecting Ms. Lofton.
B. Plaintiff's Claim of Retaliation
Plaintiff also claims that her reassignment in 1975 was in retaliation for her complaints about Ms. McColl. Plaintiff's claim must fail. There was no evidence at trial suggesting that the reassignment was "adverse" to plaintiff's career. Given the fact that plaintiff was transferred away from a supervisor with whom she had a conflict, it is more likely than not that the transfer would have enhanced her chances of advancement. Nevertheless, plaintiff requested a return to the Funds Control Division. Furthermore, there is no indication that the transfer was somehow connected to a retaliatory motive as opposed to management's attempt to diffuse a personality conflict. Under the circumstances, plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case of reprisal. See McKinney v. Dole, 246 App. D.C. 376, 765 F.2d 1129, 1143 (D.C. Cir. 1985).
While the Court commends plaintiff for her desire to improve herself and is sympathetic to her frustration in failing to receive additional training, the record simply does not demonstrate that plaintiff was the victim of race discrimination or reprisal.
JUDGMENT ORDER -- May 30, 1990, Filed
In accordance with this Court's Memorandum of Opinion and Order of May 30, 1990, IT IS ORDERED that judgment be entered in favor of the defendant Ronald W. Roskens, Administrator U.S. Agency for International Development and against plaintiff Earlene Lofton (Burt).