were not members of the protected group were promoted at the time plaintiff's request for promotion was denied. Johnson v. Brock, 258 U.S. App. D.C. 100, 810 F.2d 219, 223 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
The burden then shifts to the defendant to articulate legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the defendant's actions. Burdine, 450 U.S. at 257; see also St. Mary's Honor Center v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 125 L. Ed. 2d 407, 113 S. Ct. 2742 (1993). Once the defendant has carried this burden of production, the presumption raised by the plaintiff's prima facie case is rebutted, and the burden then shifts back to plaintiff to demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the reason set forth by the defendant is a mere pretext. Burdine, 450 U.S. at 255-56. The ultimate burden of persuading the trier of fact that the defendant intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff remains at all times with the plaintiff. Id. at 253.
Here, while the plaintiff may have made out a prima facie case, the defendant has established that there was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory, and nonpretextual reasons for the selection -- that the selectees were better qualified candidates. These reasons were detailed in the testimony of each of the individuals involved in the selection process, and are further highlighted in the SF-171 applications provided to the Court.
The plaintiff attempts to demonstrate pretext by alleging that Powell was not qualified for the GS-334-14 Supervisory Computer Specialist position under the governing personnel qualification standards because he spent only three months as a GS-334-13 Program Manager prior to applying for the position. This experience, the plaintiff claims, falls below the one year minimum experience required for a person to apply for a promotion from a Grade 13 to a Grade 14 position. The plaintiff's argument, however, ignores Powell's previous 10 months of experience as a GM-391-13 Computer Program Manager working with computer telecommunications hardware and software. Def. Exh. 10. Thus, Powell was qualified for the position because he also had an additional ten months experience in an "equivalent" Grade 13 position in another section of the Naval Computer & Telecommunication Center. Def. Exh. 2.
Plaintiff further alleges that Powell's application was facially unqualified for consideration because he failed to include a description of his education background. This claim finds no support in the personnel qualification standards. Notably, while lower grade levels specifically require a minimum level of education, the standards in place at the time of the selection have no educational requirements for grade levels over a GS-12. Def. Exh. 2. Instead, the only qualification requirement is practical experience, which Powell clearly possessed. Id.
The plaintiff contended that the manner by which the vacancy announcement was worded, with the requirement for "open systems" experience, should be recognized as another barrier for discrimination alleged here on the part of the defendant. However, witnesses at trial convinced the Court that this argument has no basis. Specifically, Buckler testified that "open systems" is a term of art that includes diverse systems communicating with each other via standard protocols. Furthermore, Buckler testified that open systems experience was a requirement for the position and that someone with the requisite qualifications for the position would have understood what the term "open system" meant. From the record, the Court finds that, although the plaintiff may have had some generalized exposure to open systems, she did not possess the direct experience and training in open systems that the two selectees had.
Finally, the plaintiff attempts to demonstrate a pretext by pointing out that two persons were selected after the vacancy announcement advertised only one position open. The plaintiff claims that this violates the personnel regulations. Nevertheless, it was within personnel regulations to choose an additional applicant for a position that is similar to the one advertised and that became available within 90 days of the issuance of the Selection Certificate. Def. Exh. 1. Because the second position here was identical to the original position described in Vacancy Announcement No. 110-13, Buckler was within the procedures set forth in the Merit Promotion Plan when he selected Powell for the newly created vacancy.
The plaintiff did not show that the defendant's legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for her non-selection was a pretext for discrimination of any kind. The Court concludes that the record is devoid of evidence that the defendant's non-discriminatory reason for selecting two white males in this case was a pretext for discrimination against the plaintiff.
In short, the plaintiff did not sustain her burden of proof and, while she may have made out a prima facie case, it is clear that, by virtue of the foregoing and the record herein, she is entitled to no relief. This is regrettable in view of the fact that the Court has observed her during the trial and at pre-trial as being a reasonable person and, therefore, extends to her its good wishes for a long and satisfying retirement.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court shall enter final judgment in favor of the defendant in the above-captioned case. The Court shall issue an Order of even date herewith consistent with the foregoing Memorandum Opinion.
CHARLES R. RICHEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
March 23rd, 1996
For the reasons set forth in the Court's Memorandum Opinion of even date herewith, it is, by the Court, this 23rd day of March, 1996,
ORDERED that final judgment shall be entered in favor of the defendant in the above-captioned case.
CHARLES R. RICHEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE