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Clipper v. Billington

January 31, 2006

DELORES CLIPPER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES H. BILLINGTON, LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Signed by Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This employment discrimination case comes before the Court on a Motion [42] for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of defendant James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. Plaintiff, appearing pro se, filed an Amended Civil Complaint [7] alleging race discrimination, including non-selection for promotion, disparate treatment, and a hostile work environment, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.; age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.; as well as retaliation in violation of Title VII, ADEA, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.*fn1

For the reasons set forth herein, the defendant's motion will be granted on all counts.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Beginning in 1976 through July of 2004, plaintiff worked for the Library of Congress ("the Library"), primarily in the position of Parking Program Specialist (GS-301-11). Pl..' Resp. to Mot. SJ, Affidavit of Delores Clipper ("Clipper Aff."). From 1986 to 2000, plaintiff worked under Linda L. Garrison, however in December 2000, Garrison retired from the Library. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 1, ¶ 14:17-22.)

Previous to Garrison's retirement, in March of 2000, Gary Columbia had been detailed from his position, as Assistant Head of the Library of Congress Contracts and Logistics division, to the Integrated Support Services ("ISS") division office; he was tasked with reviewing and streamlining ISS programs and procedures, with the goal of improving customer service. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 4, ¶ 2.) Upon Garrison's retirement, Columbia assumed responsibility for the Library's parking program, which included supervising the plaintiff. (Id.) The Library did not at any time post a vacancy or seek applicants to replace Garrison's open position. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 3, ¶ 4[B].) Plaintiff has never applied for the position and acknowledges that she is not qualified to fill it. (Pl. Resp. to Mot. SJ at 2.)

While under Garrison's supervision, plaintiff received "outstanding" and "excellent" ratings on her evaluations. (Clipper Aff. ¶ 2.) However, her job performance came into question under Columbia's leadership, where she achieved only a "satisfactory" rating on her evaluation. (Pl. Resp. to Mot. SJ at 2.) Upon his assumption of supervision of the parking program, Columbia and the plaintiff began collaborating on a pilot program for increasing parking garage enforcement efficiency. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 4, ¶¶ 4-5.) As a result of his interactions with plaintiff, Columbia became alarmed at the lack of knowledge plaintiff displayed about the parking program and her overall performance. (Id.) Plaintiff met with Columbia's supervisor, Linda Washington, on February 7, 2001, and complained of her discomfort with Columbia's demeanor and management style. On February 12, 2001, Columbia gave plaintiff a memorandum entitled "Performance Expectations" (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 5; Clipper Aff. ¶ 6.), outlining instances where plaintiff's execution of her duties and professional demeanor had been deficient.

In the memorandum, Columbia cited numerous examples of the plaintiff missing deadlines, shirking her responsibilities, failing to make promised adjustments in her schedule, and having a generally insubordinate and negative attitude. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 5.) Columbia also asserted his expectations of the plaintiff and indicated confidence that they would be able to "turn this situation around positively." (Id.) In reply, on February 23, 2001, plaintiff filed an informal dispute in the Library's Dispute Resolution Center ("DRC") (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 6.) and wrote an accompanying memorandum also entitled "Performance Expectations." (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 7.) In the memo, she responded to Columbia's allegations and criticized his management, indicating that he was abusive, belittled and humiliated her, made her cry, and generally treated her with disrespect and scorn. (Id.)

Columbia contends that DRC asked that he agree to detail plaintiff, at her request, to another position in the Library as a possible remedy to the dispute. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 4, ¶ 7.) Plaintiff, however, denies ever requesting to be detailed from her position in the parking program. (Pl. Resp. to Mot. SJ at 3.) Based on her incompatibility with the parking program and her apparent desire to change positions, Columbia worked with Human Resources to detail the plaintiff and replace her with a more suitable candidate. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 4 ¶ 7-9.) Due to a reduction-in-force at the Library, Eva Shade, a female, African American candidate that Columbia's supervisor Washington felt would be "an asset to the parking program," was reassigned to ISS effective April 22, 2001. (Id.; Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 9.) That day, Washington detailed plaintiff to "undescribed duties" where she maintained her current grade and salary. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 10.)

Plaintiff immediately went on sick leave, and did not return to the Library until July 2, 2001. ((Pl. Resp. to Mot. SJ at 9.) At that time she was detailed by Washington to the Contracts and Logistics division for 30 days to "undescribed duties" commensurate with her grade level and maintaining her current salary. Pl. Resp. to Mot. SJ, Memorandum of Linda J. Washington ("Washington Mem."). This assignment was altered on July 6, 2001, when Columbia issued another memorandum detailing plaintiff for 30 days to "undescribed duties," commensurate with her grade level and also maintaining her current salary, in the Directorate of Law Library Services. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 11.)

Plaintiff was continuously detailed, with the exception of her extended medical absence, from April 22, 2001 to December 14, 2002. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 4, ¶ 14.) After receiving a notice of final interview (regarding her informal dispute) and right to file a formal complaint (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 13.), on August 9, 2001, plaintiff filed an Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") complaint. Ultimately, on December 15, 2002, plaintiff was permanently laterally reassigned to be an Inventory Management Specialist in Contracts and Logistical Services. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 18.) Twice during this time frame (once during her detailing and once after her reassignment) plaintiff received within-grade pay increases. (Def. Mot. SJ Ex. 17&19.)

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is warranted where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The presence of disputed facts alone is insufficient to defeat summary judgment; "the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). An issue is genuine if there is evidence on which a jury could base a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. at 248. A fact is material if ...


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