Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SIMMS v. U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

February 3, 2000

CHARLES H. SIMMS, PLAINTIFF,
V.
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robertson, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff sues under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., alleging racially discriminatory denial of job training and retaliation for filing an EEOC complaint. Defendant moves to dismiss or for summary judgment. The motion for summary judgment must be granted because plaintiff asserted his discrimination claim too late, and because plaintiff has not made out a prima facie case of retaliation.*fn1

Background

Between 1991 and July 1992, Charles Simms, a long-time Government Printing Office ("GPO") employee, was detailed as a journeyman keyboard operator in the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") section of the Electronic Photocomposition Division ("EPD"). Def.'s Facts ¶ 1. The FAA section was organized in 1989 to convert the software used for the production of FAA documents from the old ATEX system to a newer kind of software called Interleaf. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 1.

When Mr. Simms and another African-American male — both "keyboard operators" — were brought into the section, most of the conversion work had been completed. Def.'s Facts ¶ 5. As his supervisors understood it, Mr. Simms' duties were to "key and prep data" and to perform trial production runs of the new software in an effort to identify problems that others could later remedy before a similar system was put into place in an FAA satellite office in Atlantic City, New Jersey. See id. ¶ 7. Mr. Simms had a different expectation. He apparently envisioned learning the same computer skills as two white employees (Elizabeth List and George Gregory) who had the title of "proofreader" and who had been working on the project since its inception. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 1.

Mr. Simms's claim of discrimination asserts that, during his tenure at the FAA section, he was denied training opportunities based on his race and given "virtually no responsibility" while similarly situated white employees were given more training and better work. See Am.Compl. ¶¶ 13, 19. He provides two — but only two — concrete allegations of fact to support his claim. First, he complains that he was not invited to attend training in October 1991 in Atlantic City on the new Interleaf software system, while Ms. List, Mr. Gregory, and Mr. Simms's supervisor, Carl A. Zoeller (white), did attend. See id. ¶¶ 23-24. Second, he complains that, in late 1991, Mr. Zoeller made "a joking gesture" in front of Ms. List and Mr. Gregory and "looked over at [him] and the other black employee[], and said: `Look at them. They look like two crows sitting on a fence.'" Am.Compl. ¶ 33.

Mr. Simms first contacted GPO's EEO office about these allegations of discrimination on February 21, 1992. See Def.'s Facts ¶ 11. On April 1, 1992, he filed a formal complaint of race discrimination. See id. ¶ 12. The complaint was investigated, and Mr. Simms received a copy of the investigative report ("IR"). See id. ¶ 13. A hearing was held before an administrative judge, who issued a recommended decision finding no evidence of racial discrimination. See id.; see also Ex. A to Def.'s Mot.

Three years later, in 1995, Mr. Mehlberg stated that he did not like plaintiff and would not train him. See id. An administrative judge heard this complaint, and issued a recommended decision on May 7, 1998, in favor of the defendants.

Analysis

Discrimination at the FAA Section

GPO's motion seeks dismissal of Mr. Simms's discrimination claims because he failed to contact an EEO counselor within 30 days of the alleged discriminatory events. Def.'s Mot. at 14-16.

In 1991 and 1992, when the alleged discrimination occurred, a plaintiff was required to bring discriminatory events to the attention of an EEOC counselor "within 30 calendar days of the date of the alleged discriminatory event or personnel action, or the date that the aggrieved person knew or reasonably should have known of the discriminatory event of personnel action." 29 C.F.R. § 1613.214(a)(1)(i) (1992).

The training trip to Atlantic City took place in October, 1991. See IR, Tab 6, pp. 10-12. Mr. Zoeller made the allegedly racist remark in November or December of 1991.*fn2 See Def.'s Facts ΒΆ 11; IR, Tab 6, p. 10. Mr. Simms first sought EEO counseling on February 21, 1992, see ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.