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Calhoun v. Prouty

August 12, 2009

IONA D. CALHOUN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PAUL F. PROUTY, ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United Sates District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Iona Calhoun brings this action against Paul F. Prouty, the administrator of the General Services Administration, in his official capacity ("GSA"), alleging that GSA discriminated against her on the basis of her race and gender, and retaliated against her for administrative complaints and union activity in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000(e) et seq. (2006) ("Title VII"). Calhoun also alleges that GSA discriminated against her on the basis of age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. (2006) ("ADEA"). Finally, Calhoun alleges GSA paid her less than male employees for substantially similar work in violation of the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (2006) ("EPA").

Before the court is GSA's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment [#42]. Upon consideration of the motion, the opposition thereto, and the record of this case, the Court concludes that the motion should be granted.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Calhoun is a Black female who was 56 years old at the time of the first alleged incident, discriminatory non-selection.*fn1 In December 2000, she was working in the Office of Information Technology ("OIT") as a GS-13 Computer Specialist. That month, OIT announced a GS-14 Computer Specialist vacancy. Paul Whitson, the Division Director of OIT, normally would have made the selection, but he was on vacation before the application period ended and when the selection was made. Before leaving for vacation, Whitson discussed the position with the Deputy Director of OIT, Wanda Peterson-Parker, who made the selection in his absence. Whitson told Peterson-Parker he believed Tokey Bradfield (an Asian-American woman over 40), who had worked for him in the OIT administrative office, was best qualified for the job.

Calhoun applied for the GS-14 Computer Specialist position before the application period ended, but after Whitson had left for vacation. Thereafter, the human resources department forwarded a list of three individuals deemed "best qualified" for the position to Peterson-Parker; the list included Bradfield, Calhoun, and a third candidate (a Black woman). Peterson-Parker selected Bradfield. Shortly thereafter, Calhoun filed an Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") complaint.

In August 2001, Calhoun was reassigned to the Office of Real Property ("ORP") as a GS-13 Program Specialist. Calhoun contacted the EEO office on May 31, 2002, informing that office of the transfer and later filed administrative complaints of discrimination in connection with her transfer based on race, age, sex, national origin, and reprisal.

While at ORP in 2003 and 2004, Calhoun applied for GS-14 vacancies three times. Stanley Langfeld, Director of the Real Property Policy Division, was the hiring officer for each vacancy. For the first vacancy, in 2002, Langfeld selected Kenneth Holstrom, a white male. Shortly after, Calhoun filed an EEO complaint over her non-selection. The next year, Langfeld selected Robert Burmeister, a white male, for another position. When Burmeister declined the position, Langfeld closed the vacancy instead of filling it with another applicant. Several months later, Langfeld opened a substantially similar position and selected Virginia McDonald, a white female. The human resources department gave Calhoun a higher personnel score than Holstrom and Burmeister and a lower score than McDonald. Calhoun contacted the EEO office shortly after both non-selections and later filed a formal complaint.

While at ORP, Calhoun also made certain requests for training and leave, which were denied. During that time, ORP's policy was to allow employees to attend two training events per year so long as they were job related and within budgetary constraints. In 2002 and 2003, Calhoun attended, on average, more than two events per year.

In 2002, Calhoun requested, and Langfeld denied, permission to attend a human resources workshop, a Government and Media Perception seminar, an Armed Forces Communication Luncheon, a SmartCard meeting, and an E-Authentication and Technology Forum. Langfeld also denied Calhoun's requests to attend the Human Resources workshop and the SmartCard meeting as a union official. When Calhoun submitted a leave slip to attend the Human Resources workshop (after being denied permission to attend), her leave was also denied. Calhoun contacted and filed discrimination claims with the EEO office for each of these denials.

In 2003, Calhoun requested, and Langfeld denied, permission to attend the FOSE Expo (an IT tradeshow), E-Gov's Knowledge Management Conference, a Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice course, and a Building Owners and Managers Association conference. Calhoun contacted and filed discrimination claims with the EEO office for each of these denials as well.*fn2

Calhoun also received written performance reviews while at ORP. During that time, GSA annually rated employees "successful" or "unsuccessful." These reviews were not tied to any monetary benefit. In October 2002, Calhoun received a performance review for the past year rating her as "successful," but the review also contained comments by Langfeld that were critical of her performance. Calhoun filed a formal complaint of discrimination based on race, color, age, and reprisal in connection with the review. In October 2003, Calhoun received a performance review for the past year also rating her as "successful" and containing similarly critical comments by Langfeld.*fn3 Calhoun also alleges that Langfeld denied her the same employment awards as other employees.

Finally, Calhoun alleges that, from 2002 until her retirement in 2005, she was performing the work of a GS-14 but only being paid the salary of a GS-13, unlike similarly situated male employees.

II. ANALYSIS

GSA moves to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment on all of Calhoun's claims. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants the motion in its entirety.

A plaintiff must allege facts that, if true, would entitle her to prevail. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A complaint which does not allege a set of facts that supports the claim must be dismissed. Bell ...


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