United States District Court, District of Columbia
PAMELA C. LOCKS, Plaintiff,
JACOB J. LEW, Secretary of the Treasury, Defendant.
C. LOCKS, Plaintiff, represented by Robert C. Seldon, SELDON
BOFINGER & ASSOCIATES, P.C., Charlene Bofinger, SELDON
BOFINGER & ASSOCIATES, P.C. & Lauren Marsh Drabic, SELDON
BOFINGER & ASSOCIATES, P.C..
J. LEW, Defendant, represented by Jeremy S. Simon, U.S.
ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, District Judge.
Pamela C. Locks, is a former employee of Defendant, the U.S.
Department of the Treasury. Plaintiff, who is African
American, filed suit against Defendant, alleging that
Defendant discriminated against her on the basis of race, in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Presently before the Court is
Defendant's  Motion for Summary Judgment.
consideration of the parties' submissions,  the relevant
legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court finds
that Plaintiff has raised a genuine issue of material fact as
to her claim of discrimination on the basis of race.
Accordingly, the Court shall GRANT-IN-PART and DENY-IN-PART
Defendant's  Motion for Summary Judgment.
Specifically, the Court shall deny Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment with regard to Plaintiff's
discrimination claim, but shall grant Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment with regard to Plaintiff's request
for reinstatement in a position comparable to her former
position as Director of the Security Division.
the time period at issue in this case, Plaintiff, who is
African American, was employed by the Financial Management
Service ("FMS"), a bureau of the U.S. Department of
the Treasury. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 1. FMS was subdivided into
several "Assistant Commissioner (AC) Areas, "
including the AC Management/Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Area ("AC Management"), in which Plaintiff served
as Director of the Security Division, a GS-15 position,
between January 2006 and February 26, 2012. Id. ¶ 2.
In her capacity as Director of the Security Division,
Plaintiff was responsible for overseeing employees who
performed various duties including, inter alia,
conducting background investigations of FMS employees,
investigating employee misconduct, securely maintaining files
that contained classified and sensitive information, and
coordinating with the Treasury Department's Office of
Inspector General ("OIG"). Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 3;
Pl.'s Resp. Stmt. ¶ 3.
November 27, 2008, a clerk that worked in the Security
Division named Cordarryl Brown was arrested after a traffic
stop and charged with possession of marijuana and possession
of paraphernalia. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 6. Within a week or two
of the arrest, Mr. Brown informed Ms. Locks that he had been
arrested and that the police had found marijuana
paraphernalia in his car. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 7; Pl.'s
Stmt. ¶ 73-74. Mr. Brown did not mention that the police had
also found marijuana. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 74. Ms. Locks did not
follow up with Mr. Brown as to the outcome of any legal
proceedings associated with his arrest, and she did not
report the arrest to anyone in OIG. Def.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 9,
least one other employee in the Security Division, a
personnel Security Specialist named Allan Small, learned of
Mr. Brown's arrest. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 70. Mr. Small
advised Mr. Brown that he should inform Ms. Locks of the
arrest. Def.'s Resp. Stmt. ¶ 71. Mr. Small was unaware
whether or not Mr. Brown's arrest was ever brought to Ms.
Locks' attention, and Mr. Small never discussed it with
her. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 71. Mr. Small also did not report the
arrest to anyone in OIG. Id. ¶ 72.
late summer or early fall of 2011, Ms. Locks requested that
the two student interns in the Security Division, including
Mr. Brown, undergo a background reinvestigation at the
"moderate risk level." Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 78. Ms.
Locks instructed Ms. Agnew to initiate this re-investigation,
and Ms. Agnew in turn directed Mr. Small to handle it.
Id. ¶ 79. Upon Mr. Brown's completion of the
background's electronic questionnaire, Mr. Small reviewed
it and determined that he did not answer the police
background history question accurately or fully enough.
Id. ¶ 80. When Mr. Brown re-submitted his
questionnaire, he revealed for the first time that in
addition to his 2008 arrest, he had been arrested again in
February of 2011 and had bench warrants issued in 2009 and
2011. Id. ¶ 81.
October 2011, the OIG initiated an investigation after
receiving an anonymous complaint that an employee within the
Security Division had been arrested and that the Director of
Security was aware of the arrests and had not taken any
action. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 13. Ms. Locks was interviewed
twice by the OIG as part of the investigation, the first
occurring in late October 2011 and the second occurring in
November 17, 2011. Id. ¶ 14. During her first
interview, Ms. Locks told the OIG investigator that she had
no knowledge of Mr. Brown's arrest in 2011 until it was
brought to her attention by OIG investigators and, as to Mr.
Brown's arrest in 2008, that she also did not learn of
that arrest until October of 2011. Id. ¶
15. After Mr. Brown's interview with
the OIG, which was held on November 14, 2011, Mr. Brown
contacted Ms. Locks, noting that he had in fact told her
about his arrest shortly after it occurred in 2008. Pl.'s
Stmt. ¶ 83. OIG subsequently contacted Ms. Locks and
scheduled another interview with her on November 17, 2011.
Id. ¶ 84. During Ms. Locks' second interview,
which OIG videotaped, Ms. Locks stated that she had forgotten
that Mr. Brown had informed her of the arrest back in 2008.
Id. ¶ 85.
December 23, 2011, OIG issued a report finding that Ms. Locks
knew that Mr. Brown had been arrested in 2008, and that Ms.
Locks "was made aware of the arrest by Brown in 2008,
but admitted that she never obtained any further details for
two years." OIG Report of Investigation, ECF No. ,
at 9. The OIG also found that Ms. Locks "initially
reported to [OIG] that Brown never informed her of his
arrests[;] [h]owever, upon a second interview Locks admitted
Brown informed her, but she forgot." Id. The
OIG Report included no discussion as to whether Ms. Locks
violated any policy for failing to report Mr. Brown's
arrest, and it made no recommendation as to whether any
disciplinary action should have been taken against Ms. Locks.
See id.; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 91-93.
February 17, 2012, Ms. Locks' first-line supervisor, Kent
Kuyumjian (a Caucasian male), and Ms. Locks' second-line
supervisor, Patricia Greiner (a Caucasian female), met with
Ms. Locks and told her that she would be reassigned from the
Security Division Director position to a non-supervisory
Program Manager position within the AC Management/CFO Area,
without loss of grade or pay, effective February 26, 2012.
Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 21. Ms. Locks' removal from her
position as the Director of Security also "effectively
revoked" the competitive selection of Ms. Locks to
become the Director of the Enterprise Security Operations
Division ("ESOD"), a position that she was
competitively selected to assume upon the completion of a
merger between FMS and the Bureau of Public Debt
("BPD"). Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 98. The ESOD Director
position would have entailed greater responsibility,
including greater supervisory responsibility than her
position as the FMS Security Director, because multiple
security entities would have merged under her supervision.
Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 99.
the February 17, 2012 meeting, Ms. Greiner and Mr. Kuyumjian
gave Ms. Locks an "Oral Admonishment Confirmed in
Writing, " which stated that Ms. Locks had failed
to "promptly report the arrest of a Treasury employee in
accordance with Treasury Directive 40-01, Responsibilities of
and to the Inspector General." Oral Admonishment
Confirmed in Writing, ECF No. [52-17]. Treasury Directive
40-01 states, in relevant part:
"[A]ll department of the Treasury officials, officers
and employees are required to report promptly to the OIG any
information or allegation coming to their attention that
indicates that any Treasury... may have engaged in improper
or illegal activity, including but not limited to a criminal
or other illegal act and a violation of the Standards of
Conduct or other Federal regulations."
Id. (quoting Treasury Directive 40-01, Section 4
(Responsibilities, Parts 10(a) and (b)).
Kuyumjian also gave Ms. Locks her 2011 performance appraisal
at the February 17, 2012 meeting. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 112. Ms.
Locks received an overall rating of "Exceeds
Expectations, " the second highest rating in the
Agency's appraisal system. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 27; see
also Plaintiff's 2011 Performance Appraisal, ECF No.
[52-18]. It was the first time in her tenure as Director of
Security that she received an appraisal lower than the
highest "Outstanding" level. Id.
2012, Ms. Greiner offered Ms. Locks the position of Director,
Administrative Programs Division ("APD"), which
entailed supervising approximately 40 employees arranged in
five branches performing facilities, supply services, and
records management functions. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 37. Ms.
Locks expressed reservations to Ms. Greiner about committing
to the APD Director position without additional training, and
asked Ms. Greiner for more time to consider the offer, citing
health concerns. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 117. Ms. Greiner
subsequently reconsidered her decision to reassign Ms. Locks
into the APD Director position, as Ms. Greiner was
"concerned about the stress the Director position might
place on Ms. Locks and the possible impact that might have on
her physical well-being." Greiner EEO Declaration, ECF
No. [52-37], at 23. Ms. Greiner ultimately elected not to
place Ms. Locks into the APD Director position. Id.
December 9, 2013, Ms. Locks applied for a Voluntary
Separation Incentive Payment and voluntarily retired
effective January 3, 2014. Id. ¶ 43.
Locks first contacted an Equal Employment Opportunity
("EEO") counselor on March 6, 2012, claiming she
was discriminated against on the bases of age, race, and sex,
when she was reassigned from the Security Director position;
when she received a written admonishment; when she received
her 2011 performance appraisal and award; and in her current
working conditions. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 39. Ms. Locks filed a
formal EEO complaint on June 15, 2012. Id. ¶ 40.
November 8, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity
investigator wrote to Plaintiff, stating that the issue
accepted for investigation was whether she was discriminated
against due to her age, race and sex when:
(1) On February 17, 2012, she was issued a performance
appraisal that lowered her rating from Outstanding to ...