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GAUTIER v. WATKINS

October 1, 1990

Eduardo E. GAUTIER, Plaintiff,
v.
James D. WATKINS, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT

 JOHN H. PRATT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Plaintiff brought this action against the Secretary of the Department of Energy under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16 et seq. Plaintiff alleges that the agency discriminated against him on the basis of his race when, in 1978, instead of promoting him, the agency selected a black person from outside the agency to fill a GS-14 personnel management specialist position. Trial before the Court took place on July 26, 1990. On the basis of the trial record, including the testimony of witnesses and exhibits, the Court enters the following.

 Findings of Fact

 1. Plaintiff is a non-black who was employed as a GS-201-13 personnel management specialist by the Department of Energy (hereinafter "DOE") and its predecessor agencies the Federal Energy Office and Federal Energy Administration, from January 1974 until his retirement in September 1988.

 2. In 1978, the division where plaintiff worked was known as the Executive Resources Management Division. Plaintiff worked in the Operations Branch of the Division. His first-level supervisor was the branch chief, Marlin Burkhart. His second-level supervisor was the division director, Eugene Beach.

 3. On April 27, 1978, DOE issued Merit Staffing Vacancy Announcement No. 78-587, which advertised a GS-201-14 personnel management specialist position in the branch where plaintiff worked. The vacancy announcement's closing date was May 18, 1978.

 A. Plaintiff and his qualifications

 4. Plaintiff made a timely application for the position advertised in Vacancy Announcement No. 78-587.

 5. Plaintiff was placed on the best qualified list of applicants for promotion to the position under merit staffing guidelines, and his name was referred to the selecting official.

 6. Plaintiff's duties in his GS-13 position included working on all of the different types of personnel actions that were processed in the Operations Branch, which included supergrade positions, Schedule C appointments and experts and consultants. However, the great majority of plaintiff's work involved the evaluation of supergrade positions and the individuals' qualifications for such position.

 7. In 1978, federal agencies were required to obtain the approval of the then-Civil Service Commission before supergrade positions (i.e. grades GS-16, GS-17 and GS-18) could be established or filled. Plaintiff's duties involved preparing DOE's requests for Civil Service Commission approval of supergrade positions and of candidates that agency management desired in such positions, evaluating the duties of the positions to ensure that each would support a supergrade, and evaluating the candidate who had been selected for each position to ensure that he was qualified for it.

 8. Plaintiff received one performance appraisal prior to 1978. The performance appraisal covered the period April 1, 1974 to March 31, 1976. It was signed by his supervisor, Mr. Burkhart, who was listed on the appraisal as the rating official. It was also signed by his second-level supervisor, Eugene Beach, who was listed as the reviewing official. On the performance factors "quality of work," "quantity of work," "ability to get along with others" and "initiative and resourcefulness," plaintiff received the highest possible evaluation, "always exceeds standards." On the remaining factors of "dependability" and "work habits and attitude," he received the second-highest evaluation, "usually exceeds standards." Based on that evaluation, plaintiff received an overall rating of "satisfactory."

 9. Mr. Burkhart also completed a Supervisory Appraisal of Demonstrated Performance in connection with Mr. Gautier's application for the advertised GS-14 personnel management specialist position. He rated plaintiff as being a "3" (with 4 being the highest) on four of the ranking factors, and as "2" on two of the factors. The description of these ratings states that a "4" describes "consistently superior" performance in the area, while a "3" indicates that the employee "frequently exceeds normal expectations." A rating of "2" denotes that the employee merely "meets all reasonable expectations." The ...


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