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Williams v. Shinseki

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 7, 2013

WINSTON D. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC K. SHINSEKI, Defendant

Page 96

WINSTON D. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Bowie, MD.

For WINSTON D. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff: Rocquelle Angelique Jeri, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICE OF ROCQUELLE A. JERI, Bowie, MD.

For ERIC K. SHINSEKI, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Defendant: Rhonda Lisa Campbell, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 97

MEMORANDUM OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Plaintiff Winston Williams, proceeding pro se, filed suit against Defendant Eric K. Shinseki in his official capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, alleging the Defendant failed to select Mr. Williams for an Electrical Engineer position on account of the Plaintiff's national origin and age, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § § 2000e et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (the " ADEA" ), 29 U.S.C. § § 621 et seq. After the completion of discovery, the Defendant filed a [71] Motion for Summary Judgment. Upon consideration of the pleadings, [1] the relevant legal authorities, and the summary judgment record, the Court finds the Plaintiff failed to produce sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that the Defendant's stated reason for not selecting the Plaintiff was a pretext for discrimination. Accordingly, the Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on the Plaintiff's national origin and age discrimination claims.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Background

Plaintiff Winston Williams is a sixty-seven year-old American male of Sri Lankan origin. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 1. [2] Mr. Williams was sixty years-old at the time the events at issue in this case took place. See id. Plaintiff graduated from Wayne State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a grade point average of approximately 2.5. Id. ¶ 2. The Plaintiff worked as a designer for Smith and McGrills during summer breaks while he was attending Wayne State University. Williams Dep. 33:12-37:20. The Plaintiff

Page 98

testified at his deposition that he was not employed in the fields of electrical or computer engineering between 1980 and 1984. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 3. From 1984 through 1988 the Plaintiff was hired as an Electrical Engineer for the General Services Administration. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 4. In 1988 the Plaintiff resigned his position with the General Services Administration to accept a position as an Electrical Engineer with the Department of Veterans Affairs (" VA" ). Id. ¶ 5. The Plaintiff remained with the VA until February 2001, at which time he resigned from the VA to accept a position as an Electrical Engineer with the Architect of the Capitol, where he is currently employed. Id. ¶ ¶ 6-7. The Plaintiff obtained a license as a Professional Engineer from the District of Columbia in June 2006. Def.'s Ex. 3 at 8.

B. Vacancy at Issue

In February or March 2007, the Plaintiff learned from several individuals at the VA that a vacancy announcement for an Electrical Engineer position at the VA was going to be posted. Def.'s Ex. 1 (Dep. of W. Williams) at 89:16-91:8. As a result, the Plaintiff sent his resume to Sat Gupta, the Plaintiffs former colleague [3] from the VA, and asked Mr. Gupta to contact the Plaintiff if any relevant positions became available. Id. at 95:11-96:17. The VA subsequently posted a vacancy announcement for an Electrical Engineer, grade GS-850-14, and advertised the position nationwide for candidates outside the VA. Def.'s Ex. 3 (Vacancy Announcement); Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 12. The announcement indicated that a degree in Engineering was required for the position. The knowledge, skills, and abilities, or " KSAs" for the position included

o Skill in application of advisory and consultative services sufficient to review proposed design and to troubleshoot unique and complex problems with existing electrical systems within medical care environments (design development). Describe types of medical facilities studied/scope and breadth to include environmental safety/energy usage and life cycle analysis;
o Knowledge in electrical systems for medical care facility design and encountered during on-site construction. Advisory and consultative services included recommended solutions on unique issues applicable to medical care environments (problem resolution). Describe design related troubleshooting as [sic] problems encountered during construction;
o Knowledge of national codes in safety requirements (Knowledge of varying design standards, criteria, and safety requirements);
o Ability to develop or review design standards, criteria, and specifications written for private consultants or architectural and engineering (A/E) firms; and
o Skill in the ability to establish and maintain effective interpersonal relationships and to communicate effectively with diverse groups with varying interests.

Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 14; Def.'s Ex. 3 at 4-5. The Plaintiff applied for the position on March 29, 2007. Def.'s Ex. 4 (Pl.'s Appl.).

After the announcement closed, the VA compiled a list of minimally qualified applicants, which ...


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