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Chappell-Johnson v. Bair

September 3, 2008

DOROTHY CHAPPELL-JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHEILA M. BAIR, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff Dorothy Chappell-Johnson is African-American and was sixty years old when she brought the instant suit. (Comp. ¶4.) Defendant Sheila M. Bair, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), is sued only in her official capacity.*fn2

Ms. Chappell-Johnson has been employed by the FDIC since 1996. (Pl.'s Opp'n 2.) Between 1990 and 1996 she was employed by a predecessor of the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation. (Id.) Since 1998 plaintiff has applied for and been denied multiple promotions at the FDIC. (Pl.'s Opp'n 4.) Prior to the initiation of the underlying complaint, plaintiff had filed three separate complaints under the Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") process. (See Pl.'s Opp'n 4 (citing Def.'s Mem. Ex. 6, ¶4.))

In late 2003 the FDIC advertised a vacant position in the role of Human Resources Specialist (Information Systems and Compensation), for which plaintiff applied. (Pl.'s Opp'n Ex. 1, ¶3.) The position's advertisement listed the following "Quality Ranking Factors (Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Abilities)," ("the KSAs") as follows:

1. Knowledge of U.S. Office of Personnel Management regulations, guidelines, and pertinent laws concerning compensation and pay administration.

2. Knowledge of the National Finance Center (NFC) payroll/personnel system.

3. Ability to conduct comprehensive analyses of automated human resource information systems.

4. Ability to analyze, evaluate and make recommendations to senior level management officials.

5. Ability to establish and maintain customer service and smooth working relationships with a variety of offices and individuals at all levels. (Pl.'s Opp'n Ex. 8, p.2-3.).

The parties do not dispute that four applicants were pre-rated as qualified for the position and subsequently interviewed by a panel. This interview panel was comprised of Ms. Shirley Y. Purnell ("Purnell"), an African-American female who was then fifty-three, Ms. Natalie Tyce ("Tyce"), also an African-American female who was then thirty-nine, and Mr. Eugene Bell ("Bell"), an African-American male who was then fifty three. (See Pl.'s Ex. 5; Def's Mem. Ex. 4; Def's Mem. Ex. 5.) The membership of the interview panel was determined by Purnell, who also served as the "selecting official" -- the individual who would decide which candidate should be offered the position. (Pl.'s Mem. Ex. 5, ¶¶4-5.) Purnell was personally involved in the development of a settlement proposal related to one of plaintiff's prior EEO complaints. (Pl.'s Opp'n Ex. 6, 173-76, 179-98.)

Plaintiff and the other candidates were apparently interviewed in February or March of 2005. It is also uncontested that after the interviews Ms. Purnell performed background checks on the two candidates whom one or more members of the interview panel deemed most qualified: Ms. Quattrone and Ms. Salatich.

Ms. Purnell formalized her selection of Ms. Quattrone for the subject position on March 5, 2004. (Pl.'s Opp'n Ex. 7.) On April 6, 2004 plaintiff was notified that she was not selected for the subject position. (Comp. ¶7.) Plaintiff filed the EEO complaint underlying the instant action on August 20, 2004. (Id. at ¶8.) The FDIC issued its Final Agency Decision regarding this matter on January 4, 2006, in which it found plaintiff was not discriminated against in any manner. (Def.'s Mem. 3-4.)

Plaintiff filed the instant action on February 22, 2006. All of plaintiff's claims are based upon her non-selection for the above-referenced position. Count I of the complaint alleges race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-(16)a. Count II alleges age discrimination in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 633(a). Count III alleges plaintiff's non-selection was in retaliation for her prior protected activity; specifically, her prior EEO activity.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal ...


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