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Anakor v. Archuleta

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

February 10, 2015


Decided February 9, 2015

For EUCHARIA N. ANAKOR, Plaintiff: Denise Marie Clark, LEAD ATTORNEY, CLARK LAW GROUP, Washington, DC.

For JOHN BERRY, Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Defendant: Carl Ezekiel Ross, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

Page 258


RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Eucharia Anakor (" plaintiff or " Anakor" ), a Nigerian woman, brings this suit against Katherine Archuleta[1] in her official capacity as Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management (" defendant" or the " Agency" ). See Compl. [Dkt. #1]. Anakor alleges unlawful discrimination on the basis of national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., (" Title VII" ); unlawful discrimination based on caregiving responsibilities in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., (" ADA" ); and retaliation for participating in protected Equal Employment Opportunity (" EEO" ) activity in violation of Title VII. Compl. ¶ ¶ 42-64. Before me now is defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. (" Def.'s Mot." ) [Dkt. #28]. After review of the motions, the applicable law, and the record herein, defendant's motion is GRANTED.

Page 259


Anakor began working with the Office of Personnel Management's (" OPM" ) Federal Investigative Services Division in January 2008. Feb. 19, 2014 Deposition of Eucharia N. Anakor, Def.'s Mot., Ex. 1 (" Anakor Depo." ) at 16:14-21 [Dkt. #28-1]. The Division conducts background checks on individuals seeking federal security clearances or public trust positions. Def.'s Statement of Mat. Facts Not in Dispute ¶ 8 (" Def.'s SOMF" ) [Dkt. #28].[2]

Anakor was hired into a two-year internship as a special agent/federal investigator, during which she was a probationary employee and received formal training to learn the duties of a special agent. Anakor Depo. at 19:9-20:7. She understood that her intern position was temporary, with no guarantee that she would be converted to a permanent employee. Id. at 63:21-24. Indeed, the Federal Career Intern Program Agreement Anakor signed with the Agency explicitly stated that " [t]he employer will consider an eligible intern for conversion to a permanent position upon successful completion of the two-year internship period. . . . [N]o assurance of permanent employment can be made and none is implied." Def.'s Mot., Ex. 2 [Dkt. #28-1].

New intern hires, including Anakor, received group and individualized training on their duties. Interns new to the Agency at the time plaintiff joined attended a pre-academy class, a basic investigator course, and spent time with a mentor or training agent. Sept. 5, 2013 Deposition of Lyndsey Hovde,[3] Def.'s Mot., Ex. 5 (" Hovde Depo." ) at 10:6-15 [Dkt. #28-2]; see also Anakor Depo. at 24:14-25:5, 32:16-23; Def.'s Mot., Ex. 6 [Dkt. #28-2], Once through initial training, intern investigators were sent out into the field to conduct interviews with subjects and sources. See Def.'s Mot., Ex. 6.

During the course of Anakor's internship, one of her children was diagnosed with kidney disease. Anakor Depo. at 37:5-8. In September 2008, shortly after her child was diagnosed, Anakor requested a transfer to Alabama. Id. at 36:22-37:13. Her request for a permanent transfer was denied. Id. at 37:11-15. However, her request for a temporary duty assignment to Alabama was granted for three months, and later extended by an additional month. Id. at 39:3-18. She returned to her home field office and did not request any further extension of the temporary assignment. Id. at 39:19-21. She was told that she could request leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, but she did not request such leave. Id. at 96:18-99:7; Def.'s Mot., Ex. 26 [Dkt. #28-3]. Plaintiff continued to work from her Virginia field office until the end of her two-year internship.

Investigators, including investigator interns, are evaluated based on four elements of their work: quality, timeliness, productivity, and investigative competencies. See, e.g., Def.'s Mot., Ex. 3 [Dkt. #28-1], All four elements are considered " critical elements" such that " if someone performs unsuccessfully, the entire rating is unsuccessful regardless of the other ratings on the other elements." July 22, 2014 Deposition of Patrick Green, Def.'s Mot., Ex. 4 at 52:9-22 [Dkt. #28-1].

Page 260

One way investigators are assessed is through the completion of " check rides," or observed field interviews. As plaintiff explained, a check ride is " a period of observation for the supervisors to go out with an investigator to observe the investigator and make sure that the required questions are being asked and the investigator is following OPM policies and procedures while conducting an investigation out in [the] field." Anakor Depo. at 43:10-15.

Investigators also create reports after their interviews, which are reviewed internally and externally by those using the reports to adjudicate security clearances and may be returned to the investigator for elaboration or correction if deficient. Hovde Depo. at 127:19-128:5. Deficiencies can include failure to interview certain people, failure to obtain necessary records, or failure to resolve an issue that arose during the course of the background investigation. Id. at 127:9-18. A retuned report means " the report is not complete and therefore an adjudicator would not be able to determine the person's suitability based on the report that is provided." Id. at 128:18-21.

Both Anakor's reports and check rides exposed flaws in her investigations while she was an intern investigator. Throughout plaintiff's time as an intern, multiple reports were returned to her to correct deficiencies, particularly to add necessary information plaintiff either had not asked or had not recorded the ...

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