Shea v. Clinton: Title VII Discrimination Claim on 1990’s Mid-Level Minority Hiring Program

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of race and color as well as national origin, sex, or religion.   It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race or color in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.  Title VII also prohibits both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude minorities and that are not job related.

Not sure when this case was originally filed but this was first dismissed in 2003 until the decision was reversed and remanded two years later, so it has to be at least a decade old.

Below extracted from court files:

This is a Title VII discrimination claim brought by pro se plaintiff William Shea, a White career Foreign Service officer, against the Department of State (“State”). Compl., Mar. 3, 2002, ECF No. 1. State had a Mid-Level Minority Hiring Program (“MLAAP”) in force when it hired Shea in 1992. Mid-level hiring allowed State to hire a Foreign Service candidate directly into a higher grade, rather than into an entry-level grade. Mid-level hiring required a “certification of need” either that an outside hire was required, or the candidate was a member of a specified minority group under the MLAAP. Candidates for mid-level hiring were also required to (a) have substantial professional experience, (b) receive a passing grade on an oral examination, and (c) pass a background check. Shea alleged that he would have passed the screening process, but was excluded from consideration solely because of his race, as there was no certification of need. Specifically, Shea alleged harm because his hiring at entry-level rather than mid-level grade has subjected him to lower pay and fewer promotion opportunities than members of minority groups admitted under the MLAAP, in violation of his rights under Title VII. Shea also alleged constitutional violations, but the Court dismissed those claims and Shea did not appeal the dismissal. The Title VII claim is the only one still before the Court. See Shea v. Clinton, 850 F. Supp. 2d 153, 156 (D.D.C. 2012) (providing factual and procedural history of case).

The Court originally granted State’s Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) because the statute of limitations had expired. Mem. & Order, Sept. 30, 2003, ECF Nos. 15 & 16. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed and remanded. Shea v. Rice, 409 F.3d 448 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (holding that each time employer pays employee less than another for discriminatory reason, that pay event is a discrete discriminatory event with own statute of limitations).

In light of the Supreme Court’s subsequent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007)—which brought the D.C. Circuit’s analysis into question—this Court granted State’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Shea v. Rice, 587 F. Supp. 2d 166 (D.D.C. 2008). While this case was again on appeal, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111–2, 123 Stat. 5 (2009), which abrogated the Supreme Court’s holding in Ledbetter. The D.C. Circuit remanded for reconsideration in light of this intervening change. Shea v. Clinton, No. 08–5491, 2009 WL 1153448, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 2, 2009). This Court then denied the remaining portions of both parties’ Motions for Summary Judgment. 3 Mem. Order, Aug. 11, 2009, ECF No. 69. The Court also denied State’s subsequent Motion for Reconsideration. Order, Aug. 20, 2009, ECF No 71.

On July 23, 2010 the plaintiff moved to hold discovery deadlines in abeyance until resolution of his latest motions for reconsideration. ECF No. 86. In response, the Court stayed the entire matter until an April 6, 2011 status conference. Minute Order, Mar. 9, 2011. At that conference, the Court orally extended this stay. The stay remained in effect until the Court resolved plaintiff’s motions for reconsideration and motion for application of judicial estoppel. See Mem. Op. & Order Denying Pl.’s Mots. Reconsideration, Mar. 23, 2012, ECF Nos. 113 & 114; Mem. & Order Denying Pl.’s Mot. Judicial Estoppel, July 30, 2012, ECF No. 118.

On August 17, 2012, State filed a second Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 120, raising the affirmative defense of mitigation of damages, id. at 34–36. Plaintiff objected to State first raising this affirmative defense in a dispositive motion, rather than in a pleading. Pl.’s Opp’n to Def.’s Second Mot. Summ. J. 34, Aug. 30, 2012, ECF No. 123. In response, the defendant submitted the present Motion to Amend Answer to add the affirmative defenses of laches and mitigation of damages to its Answer. Def.’s Mot. Am., Sept. 20, 2012, ECF No. 129. The Court will grant this motion, as allowing the amendments will not unduly prejudice plaintiff.

Read in full here.

domani spero sig

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Court Cases, FSOs, Govt Reports/Documents, State Department

2 responses to “Shea v. Clinton: Title VII Discrimination Claim on 1990’s Mid-Level Minority Hiring Program

  1. Oh, dear! You gotta watch out for those ambassador “aid.”

  2. Dan Davenport

    Here is my nomination for diplomatic blunder of the year. Of course the USA should get a nod for “pioneering work in this area”!
    http://rt.com/news/honduran-ambassador-sacked-christmas-orgy-419/

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