The opinion of the court was delivered by: STANLEY SPORKIN
Now before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. This is an employment discrimination case filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Plaintiff Sean Haddon is a chef employed at the White House. Mr. Haddon is suing Gary Walters, the Chief Usher of the Executive Residence. The relief sought includes a promotion which Mr. Haddon says he was illegally denied, as well as the expungment of a mediocre performance evaluation. Because the Court agrees with the Defendant that the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this claim, Defendant's motion to dismiss will be granted.
Plaintiff Sean Haddon makes two claims against the White House Chief Usher. Mr. Haddon alleges that he was denied a position as sous-chef at the Executive Residence because he does not speak the French language and because he is married to an African-American woman. Mr. Haddon asserts that the sous-chef position was given to an individual of equal or lesser qualifications who is not married to an African-American and who speaks the French language. Thus, his first claim is of disparate treatment.
Mr. Haddon also alleges that after requesting a meeting with an equal employment opportunity counselor, an employee of the Executive Residence threatened to "beat the shit" out of him. He was also given a less than exemplary performance evaluation for the first time. In addition, Mr. Haddon asserts that because of his efforts to obtain fair treatment, the defendant Gary Walters contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and falsely accused Mr. Haddon of threatening the President and the First Family with physical harm. As a result of these false accusations, Mr. Haddon was physically escorted from the White House, had his White House pass confiscated, and was placed on administrative leave. Mr. Haddon maintains that he was completely exonerated by a subsequent Secret Service investigation. His second claim therefore is for retaliation.
II. Contentions of the Parties
Both parties agree that whether this case survives the motion to dismiss boils down to a question of statutory interpretation. Mr. Haddon asserts that as a low-level White House employee who has no personal connection to the President, he is entitled to sue under 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-16 which bars "discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin" in executive agencies. In support of his assertion that this Court has jurisdiction to entertain such a claim, Mr. Haddon provides evidence that on a previous occasion when an employee of the Executive Residence initiated an EEO complaint during the Nixon Administration, the Executive Residence complied with the procedures outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. As further evidence of Title VII coverage of White House chefs, Mr. Haddon points to the fact that the government has on one previous occasion in an employment dispute concerning the White House Fellows program stipulated that White House Fellows are covered by the 1972 amendments to the Civil Rights Act. Because of this, Mr. Haddon reasons that employees of the Executive Residence, "who are engaged in positions of far lesser responsibility than White House Fellows" must necessarily be covered as well.
Mr. Haddon makes other arguments based on the fact that his Office of Personnel Management Form 50-B indicates that the position he occupies is in the excepted service, and that his position is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
By contrast, Defendant Walters points to two other provisions of the United States Code which, he argues, provide a double-barrelled justification to deny jurisdiction. First, Mr. Walters points to 3 U.S.C. § 105(b)(1) which reads in part:
The President is authorized to appoint and fix the pay of employees in the Executive Residence at the White House without regard to any other provision of law regulating the employment or compensation of persons in Government service. Employees so appointed shall perform such official duties as the President may prescribe.
(emphasis added). This provision, Mr. Walters contends, dispenses with any suggestion that employees of the Executive Residence are covered by the 1972 amendments to the Civil Rights Act because it establishes that the President has complete discretion to hire and fire the domestic staff of the White House, for whatever reason the President chooses.
Defendant Walters next argues that if any civil rights laws apply to employees of the Executive Residence, those provisions are found in Section 320 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 2 U.S.C. § 1219. This section of the Code extends protection against employment discrimination to Presidential appointees. See 2 U.S.C.A. § 1219 (a)(1).
Subsection (b) defines a Presidential Appointee to mean:
any officer or employee, or an applicant seeking to become an officer or employee, in any unit of the Executive Branch, including the Executive Office of the President, whether appointed by the President or by any other appointing authority in the Executive Branch, who is not already entitled to bring an action under any of the statutes referred to in section 1202 of this title but does not include any individual--
(1) whose appointment is made by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; (2) who is appointed to an advisory committee, as defined in section 3(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C.App.); or (3) who is a member of the uniformed services.