Friday, March 30, 2007

McClintick v. Leavitt (Maryland U.S.D.C.) (Not approved for publication)

Signed March 26, 2007. Opinion and Order by Judge Richard D. Bennett.

Memorandum and Opinion granting summary judgment in part.

Held: 1) A federal employee can seek relief for employment discrimination only by asserting causes of action under Title VII.

2) Not being nominated for a discretionary merit-based award may constitute an adverse employment action actionable under Title VII if the plaintiff can show that such a determination represents a decision on permanent pay status.

Facts: Plaintiff, white male, worked for U.S. Dept. Health and Human Services. His direct supervisor was an African-American female. In 2004, the Plaintiff was not nominated for a so-called Quality Step Increase ("QSI"). QSI's are awards given for sustained performance of high quality that significantly exceeds an acceptable level of competence. The Plaintiff had been nominated to receive a QSI for 2003, and had received other merit-based awards, when he was previously supervised by a different supervisor, who was Caucasian.

The Plaintiff sued, alleging that he did not receive a QSI for 2004 because of racial discrimination and retaliation for filing an earlier discrimination charge. The Plaintiff alleged four causes of action: Count I - race discrimination (Title VII), Count II - race discrimination (§1981); Count III - retaliation for participating in protected activity (Title VII); Count IV - retaliation in violation of §1981.

The Defendant moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. The Court dismissed Counts II and IV because they were based upon §1981, a cause of action not available to Plaintiff, a federal employee. The Court denied the motion as to Counts I and III, finding that the Plaintiff had alleged sufficient facts to state a cause of action.

A full copy of the opinion is available in PDF format.

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