United States District Court, District of Columbia
Decided Date: February 27, 2014
For ORA TABRON, Plaintiff: Eden J. Brown Gaines, LEAD ATTORNEY, BROWN GAINES, LLC, White Plains, MD.
For JANET A. NAPOLITANO, Defendant: Mercedeh Momeni, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.
RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff Ora Tabron (" Tabron" or " plaintiff" ) brings this action against her employer, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security (" DHS" or " defendant" ), alleging discrimination on the basis of her race and color in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See Compl. [Dkt. #1]. Now before the Court is defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (" Def.'s Mot." ) [Dkt. #19]. Upon consideration of the parties' pleadings, relevant law, and the entire record in this case, the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
This case involves a challenge to defendant's non-selection of Tabron--an African-American woman of dark complexion--for promotion to the position of Director of Operations, Regulatory Audit, Office of International Trade (" Director of Operations" or " position in question" ). See Compl at ¶ ¶ 6, 12. Plaintiff alleges that the defendant passed her over for promotion due to her race and color, in favor of a less qualified candidate who is not African-American. See id. at ¶ ¶ 18-22.
Tabron began working for Customs and Border Protection (" CBP" )--a component of DHS--and U.S. Customs Service before that, in approximately 1985 and rejoined the agency in approximately 1996, following a period of work in the private sector. See Def.'s Mot. at ¶ 2; Pl.'s Opp'n at ¶ ¶ 1-2 [Dkt. #21]. Throughout her career, plaintiff always worked in Washington, D.C. See Ex. 2 to Def.'s Mot. at 15:10 [Dkt. #19-1]. From September, 2003 to July, 2010, plaintiff held the supervisory position of Director, Quality Assurance Division. See Compl. at ¶ ¶ 6-7; Def.'s Mot. at ¶ 1. In April, 2010, CBP created the Director of Operations position when it combined the responsibilities of two previous positions, Field Oversight East and Field Oversight West. See Def.'s Mot. at ¶ 5; Pl.'s Opp'n at ¶ ¶ 7-8. In July 2010, CBP temporarily
detailed plaintiff to serve in the Director of Operations position. See Compl. at ¶ 7.
Desiring to fill the position on a permanent basis, CBP issued a Vacancy Announcement for the Director of Operations position (" Announcement" ) on or about July 22, 2010. See Def.'s Mot. at ¶ 6. The Announcement listed the " Major Duties" of the position as including, inter alia, directing the office " responsible for providing oversight guidance over the daily operational and administrative activities of all the Regulatory Audit Field Offices." See Ex. 6 to Def.'s Mot. at 223 [Dkt. #19-2]. The Announcement period was scheduled to remain open from July 22 through August 4, 2010. See Def.'s Mot. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff submitted her completed application for permanent placement in the position prior to the August 4, 2010 deadline. See Compl. at ¶ ¶ 8-9; Def.'s Mot. at ¶ 2. However, due to the failure of otherwise qualified candidates to submit all required documentation, CBP human resources extended the deadline, informing all applicants on September 10, 2010 that they were free to supplement their applications with any additional documentation on or before September 17, 2010. See Compl. at ¶ 11; Def.'s Mot. at ¶ ¶ 7-9.
Plaintiff later interviewed with James Madden and R. Keith Richard--the interview panel for the Director of Operations position--after which they considered her to be one of the top two candidates for the job. See Def.'s Mot. at ¶ 11. Nevertheless, on December 8, 2010, Cindy Covell (" Covell" )--the recommending official for the position--recommended Caridad Reyes (" Reyes" ), a Filipino woman, for the Director of Operations position to the selecting official, Daniel Baldwin (" Baldwin" ).See Def.'s Mot. at ¶ 15; Compl. at ¶ 12. Reyes previously served in CBP's Long Beach, California field office as a Senior Auditor and Team Leader from August 2004 to March 2007, and as an Assistant Field Director from March 2007 to December 2008. See Ex. 16 to Def.'s Mot. at ...