qualified for a job for which the employer was seeking applicants; (3) that, despite his qualifications, he was rejected; and (4) that, after his rejection, the position remained open and the employer continued to seek applicants from persons of complainant's qualifications. McDonnell Douglas Corp. at 802.
Defendant claims that plaintiff has not shown that he was qualified for the job and thus has not made out an essential element of his prima facie case. Although defendant presents a persuasive case that Bray was not as qualified as the three applicants who were selected for the interviews, it is clear that Bray had at least the minimum qualifications for the job.
Bray had earned a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law, and had approximately five years experience in private practice.
The Court is not prepared to find that plaintiff has established a prima facie case of racial discrimination. The mere fact that Bray was not granted an interview even though he possessed the minimum qualifications for the job does not, by itself, "give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination."
At a minimum, the Court would also require plaintiff to show that GULC knew or should have known that plaintiff was a member of a protected class.
However, since defendant has provided legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for not selecting Bray for an interview, which plaintiff has been unable to show were pretextual, there is an additional basis for dismissing plaintiff's claim.
III. DEFENDANT'S LEGITIMATE, NONDISCRIMINATORY REASONS
GULC has asserted legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for not selecting Bray as one of the three finalists for an interview. Ms. Cook indicated that she was looking particularly for applicants whose resumes demonstrated a significant commitment to providing student counseling in the college or university setting, as well as facility with foreign languages and sensitivity to the special cultural and educational needs of international students. Cook Decl. at P8. In contrast to the resumes submitted by the three finalists, Bray's resume did not indicate that he possessed the particular skills which GULC sought.
Plaintiff responds that the asserted reasons must be pretextual because he was not called for an interview even though he was highly qualified and because another highly qualified African-American was also denied an interview. This argument is without merit.
First, the Court notes that one of the three finalists was an African-American, and all were members of a racial minority. This fact alone suggests that GULC's asserted bases for selecting the finalists were not a pretextual cover designed to mask a true intent of excluding African-Americans but were an honest attempt to select in an efficient manner the candidate best-suited to the job.
Nothing in Title VII requires an employer to interview all qualified applicants who submit resumes in response to an advertised vacancy. The mere fact that plaintiff possessed some or even all of the qualifications contained in the vacancy announcement does not automatically entitle him to an interview. Title VII entitles plaintiff to fair consideration based on nondiscriminatory factors, and gives plaintiff the right not to be rejected for a position because of his race. The undisputed facts in this case make clear that GULC selected the three finalists based on legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons.
Plaintiff has been unable to show that these asserted, nondiscriminatory reasons were pretextual.
Plaintiff would have federal court's become the personnel offices of all this nation's employers. Under plaintiff's logic, an employer would be required to interview and ultimately hire all qualified applicants, regardless of the employer's resources and personnel needs. Such a result is far beyond the intended reach of Title VII, and would make it impossible for businesses to compete effectively in today's marketplace.
Title VII, designed to exclude impermissible discrimination from personnel decisions, has in too many cases been used to involve this nation's courts in unnecessarily reviewing legitimate hiring decisions. Increasingly, employers must navigate through a litigation minefield each time they attempt to fill a vacancy, promote an outstanding employee, or terminate an employee whose performance has been unsatisfactory. Abuse of Title VII protections by disappointed job applicants has created ballooning litigation and has adversely affected legitimate claimants from obtaining the judicial attention they deserve.
Today's marketplace is highly competitive, where dozens of well-qualified applicants often vie for one position. While it may be a hard reality for some job seekers to accept, some qualified applicants will not survive the first cut. Every decision not to interview a possibly qualified applicant does not necessarily suggest impermissible discrimination or warrant filing a lawsuit in federal court.
Where, as here, the undisputed facts indicate that an employment decision was motivated by legitimate business considerations and not tainted by impermissible discrimination, summary judgment for the defendant is proper.
This Court has observed too many cases where an individual who has been rejected for a job or who has been fired from a position will make totally unsupported claims of discrimination. Indeed, some persons make multiple, non-substantiated claims, i.e., race, religion, gender, and age, in the same case in the hope that maybe one of the claims will "stick." It is clear to the Court that often these claims are not supportable. Because of the low threshold to sustain a prima facie case, the litigation often continues, causing a ballooning civil docket and forcing the trial of legitimate cases to be delayed. The time is overdue for our legislature to revisit the law in this area. At the minimum, better screening mechanisms and administrative processes are needed. The way claims are adjudicated under the Social Security system may be an appropriate method to be explored.
For all of the foregoing reasons, the Court finds summary judgment should be issued for the defendant and the case will be dismissed. An appropriate order accompanies this memorandum opinion.
DATE: March 5, 1996
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
This matter comes before the Court on defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons cited in the foregoing opinion, this Court finds that defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the Court hereby ORDERS that defendant's motion for summary judgment be GRANTED and the case be DISMISSED.
DATE: March 5, 1996
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE