Gender Bias Claim Can Proceed
In the recent decision, Juanita D. McCullum, Complainant, v. Robert C. Tapella, Public Printer, U.S. Government Printing Office, Agency, EEOC Appeal No. 0120090889 (July 30, 2010), the EEOC reversed the Government Printing Office’s dismissal of Ms. McCullum’s EEO complaint “for failure to state a claim,” and remanded to the agency for further processing.
Complainant Juanita D. McCullum was working the day shift as a graphic processor operator at the GPO print center when she responded to a vacancy announcement for a new, higher-paid night shift position as a “web-fed digital print operator.” Six days after the agency selected McCullum for the position, and only two days after she reported to work, the agency rescinded the job offer, told McCullum that her position had been “canceled” and also told her that her selection had been “in error.”
McCullum then filed an EEO complaint alleging that the agency’s actions subjected her to discrimination on the basis of sex because it rescinded her selection; sought candidates under multiple announcement numbers; and only selected men for the positions at issue. In addition to alleging the cancellation, McCullum alleged that the agency selected a male employee for the position; had a history of cancelling vacancy announcements; and had been the subject of several prior discrimination claims, including a hostile work environment claim.
The Commission rejected the agency’s argument that McCollum’s claim was really only a challenge to the agency’s failure to stick to its original signed selection notice, and also rejected the agency’s assertion that the claim lacked allegations of a discriminatory motive. The Commission observed that the complainant readily met the definition of “aggrieved employee” and found ample allegations that the agency discriminated against her because of her sex. The Commission also tossed aside the agency’s attempt to justify its articulated reasons for the non-selection as “irrelevant to the procedural issue of whether she has stated a viable claim” under EEOC regulations. The Commission thus reversed the agency’s dismissal and remanded for further processing in accordance with the decision.