616 F.Supp. 1540 (D.D.C. 1985), Civ. A. 76-1439, Palmer v. Shultz

Docket Nº:Civ. A. 76-1439
Citation:616 F.Supp. 1540
Party Name:Palmer v. Shultz
Case Date:September 13, 1985
Court:United States District Courts, District of Columbia

Page 1540

616 F.Supp. 1540 (D.D.C. 1985)

Alison PALMER, et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

George P. SHULTZ, Defendant.

Marguerite COOPER, et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

George P. SHULTZ, Defendant.

Civ. A. Nos. 76-1439, 77-2006.

United States District Court, District of Columbia.

Sept. 13, 1985

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Bruce J. Terris, Ellen K. Wayne, Terris & Sunderland, Washington, D.C., for plaintiffs.

Diane M. Sullivan, Stuart Newberger, Asst. U.S. Attys., Washington, D.C., for defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JOHN LEWIS SMITH, Jr., District Judge.

These consolidated cases involve a class action brought against the Department of State alleging sex discrimination against female Foreign Service Officers (FSO's) in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. The plaintiff class is composed of all female Foreign Service Officers employed by the Department of State at any time since February 4, 1976 and all female applicants to become Foreign Service Officers since February 4, 1976. 1 The nine individual plaintiffs are Alison Palmer, Mary A. Ryan, Ellen Shippy, Marguerite Cooper, Mary Lee Garrison, Mary Finrow, Laurel Cooper, Mary Hartman, and Julie Ann McGrath.

Plaintiffs allege that the Department of State engaged in sexual discriminatory practices against female FSO's and FSO applicants in all aspects of the employment process, to wit: (a) hiring, (b) cone assignments, (c) job assignments, (d) promotions, (e) performance evaluations, (f) awards, and (g) class at hire. Plaintiffs' hiring claims were settled prior to trial in the form of two consent decrees. The first consent decree was entered on October 12, 1983 and resolved all claims raised by those class members who had applied to become Foreign Service Officers at the Junior Applicant level. The remaining class applicant/hiring claims were settled with the March 5, 1985 entry of the Mid-Level Consent Decree. Defendant denies each and every one of the remaining claims, contending that the Department of State has consistently complied with the spirit and requirements of Title VII. Trial on the remaining claims was bifurcated, and the liability issues were tried beginning on May 6, 1985, and concluding on June 5, 1985.

Upon consideration of the testimony of the witnesses, exhibits admitted into evidence, and the entire record herein, the Court, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 52, enters the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Findings of Fact

1. The Foreign Service of the United States is charged with assisting "the President and the Secretary of State in conducting the foreign affairs of the United States." 22 U.S.C. § 3901(a)(1).

2. The Foreign Service is administered by the Secretary of State under the direction of the President. 22 U.S.C. § 3921(a).

3. While performing its many varied duties throughout the world, the Foreign Service is responsible for maintaining the best possible relations with the government to which accredited.

Cone at Entry

4. In the early 1960's, the Department decided that Foreign Service Officers should be selected for hire into a particular cone, that is, functional field of specialization, while continuing to be required to show generalist aptitude. Four cones were established to reflect the four main areas

Page 1544

of specialization: political, economic/commercial 2, administrative and consular. Prior to that time FSO's were hired as generalists. Later in their careers, many but not all developed a field of specialization. It was determined that the generalist selection method had resulted in a surplus of political and political/economic officers and an insufficient number of officers in the other fields (consular, administrative and commercial). In addition, management believed that more specialized expertise was required to meet the increasingly complex demands placed on the FSO corps.

5. Administrative officers are responsible for support operations of U.S. embassies and consulates.

6. Consular officers work closely with the public providing assistance to American travelers and residents abroad, issuing visas, and other immigration related issues.

7. Economic officers deal with economic issues that impact on U.S. interests, including trade, energy, aviation, and maritime matters. These officers perform their duties by both gathering and reporting data back to the U.S. and by taking part in economic negotiations with foreign entities.

8. Political officers analyze and report on political questions which affect U.S. interests. They gather data to report back to the U.S. while also maintaining close contacts with foreign political and labor leaders.

9. Since establishment of the cone system, officers have been assigned to a cone at the time of hire. The officer's cone is reflected as the officer's primary skill code. A cone may include individuals with a number of different primary skill codes. For example, political officers, political-military affairs officers, and labor-political affairs officers all constitute different skill codes, yet all are within the political cone.

10. Since the institution of cones in the early 1960's, it has not been the policy of the Department to encourage FSO's to change cones. This is due to the fact that recruitment and appointment have been conducted by cone, in accordance with, inter alia, anticipated work-force needs. If substantial numbers of officers changed cones, this could result in the imbalances which had previously existed. Except for a short period from mid-1977 to mid-1978 when there was a freeze on cone changes, however, a procedure has existed which specified certain prerequisites for changing cones.

11. For the period 1971 through mid-1977, an officer who wished to change cones would request his/her Career Development Officer (CDO) to make the change. That CDO would consult with the CDO for the desired cone, the two CDO's would consider the officer's performance in out-of-cone assignments in the desired cone and any other relevant credentials ( e.g., academic background). If they agreed that the officer would be competitive in the desired cone, they would recommend the change to the interfunctional assignments panel, which had the final responsibility for approving the change.

12. New procedures were adopted in June 1978 (Department Notice: Primary Skill Code Changes, June 8, 1978) which permitted cone changes under certain specified circumstances. Those procedures were in effect until May 1979.

13. New procedures were again adopted in May 1979 (Department Notice: Procedures for Primary Skill Code Changes, May 22, 1979). Those procedures have been in effect since that time and continue to constitute the only method available for changing cones.

14. Officers can expect to serve the major portion of their time in the Service in positions in their assigned cones, although officers may obtain out-of-cone assignments to other cones or to interfunctional positions.

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15. The majority of FSO's enter the Foreign Service pursuant to the written and oral examination process. Beginning with the 1975 written examination, candidates were tested in all four functional fields on the written examination.

16. Between 1975 and 1979, the Junior Officer Division of the Foreign Service Career Development and Assignment Office of the Bureau of Personnel (FCA/PER) was responsible for the conal assignment of junior officers. FCA/PER would review each candidate's file, looking at his or her academic and work experience, written and oral examination results, and stated conal preference, if any. Based on this review FCA/PER would select a cone for the candidate. If a candidate disagreed with the conal designation, he or she was free to discuss the option of obtaining a different designation.

17. Those FSO's who entered the Service pursuant to the lateral entry programs acquired cone designations as part of the lateral entry process. Lateral entry applicants themselves selected, in advance, the functional field in which they wished to compete and were evaluated only for that specific cone.

18. Candidates attempting entry into the Foreign Service pursuant to the Affirmative Action Junior Officer Program (AAJOP) and Mustang Program obtained their initial cone assignments in a manner similar to other junior officers in that the Foreign Service Career Development and Assignment Office (FCA) matched the applicant's background and experience with the requirements of the four functional fields. In addition, since 1984, AAJOP applicants must also take the written examination.

19. Beginning in 1980, candidates who pass the written examination, the assessment process and the remaining steps of the selection procedure are placed on rank-order registers for all cones for which they passed the corresponding functional field test in the written examination. They are eligible for appointment to the Foreign Service officer corps, if reached, in any of the cones for which they passed a functional field test, but not in those cones in which they did not pass the functional field test. Actual offers of appointment are made in rank order, with the person who has the highest score on any conal register being offered the first appointment.

20. Candidates are free to accept or decline an offer, but are not guaranteed that a subsequent offer will be made, either in the same cone or, if the candidate is eligible, in a different cone. If a candidate is reached on more than one register in advance of a convening of a given initial training course, he or she may choose the cone of appointment.

21. Plaintiffs claim that women have been disproportionately overassigned to the consular cone and disproportionately underassigned to the political cone during the relevant time period, 1976-1983. Plaintiffs contend this pattern...

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4 practice notes
  • 652 F.Supp. 637 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), 86 Civ. 580, Zanfardino v. E-Systems, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Southern District of New York
    • 2 Febrero 1987
    ...So ordered. Notes: [1] The MFO is an international entity established to monitor activities between Israel and Egypt, Palmer v. Schultz, 616 F.Supp. 1540, 1551 (D.C.D.C.1985); and serves as a peacekeeping buffer between those countries. The MFO keeps two bases: El Gorah, located near the no......
  • 905 F.2d 1544 (D.C. Cir. 1990), 89-5091, Palmer v. Baker
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    • 11 Mayo 1990
    ...issues proceeded to trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the district court entered judgment for defendant. Palmer v. Shultz, 616 F.Supp. 1540 (D.D.C.1985). On appeal, we reversed the district court's findings of nondiscrimination in assignments, evaluations of female FSOs for potential, ......
  • 815 F.2d 84 (D.C. Cir. 1987), 85-6101, Palmer v. Shultz
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    • 24 Marzo 1987
    ...the Foreign Service from 1976 to 1983. After a trial, the District Page 87 Court found that no unlawful discrimination had occurred. See 616 F.Supp. 1540 (D.D.C.1985). This appeal followed. The record, however, discloses that the District Court's decision was premised on errors of law and t......
  • 662 F.Supp. 1551 (D.D.C. 1987), Civ. A. 76-1439, Palmer v. Shultz
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts District of Columbia
    • 2 Julio 1987
    ...defendant and dismissed the plaintiffs' remaining claims on the ground that no unlawful discrimination had occurred. Palmer v. Shultz, 616 F.Supp. 1540, 1561 The plaintiffs appealed the District Court's decision on seven Department of Page 1555 State personnel practices challenged at trial:......
4 cases
  • 652 F.Supp. 637 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), 86 Civ. 580, Zanfardino v. E-Systems, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Southern District of New York
    • 2 Febrero 1987
    ...So ordered. Notes: [1] The MFO is an international entity established to monitor activities between Israel and Egypt, Palmer v. Schultz, 616 F.Supp. 1540, 1551 (D.C.D.C.1985); and serves as a peacekeeping buffer between those countries. The MFO keeps two bases: El Gorah, located near the no......
  • 905 F.2d 1544 (D.C. Cir. 1990), 89-5091, Palmer v. Baker
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    • 11 Mayo 1990
    ...issues proceeded to trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the district court entered judgment for defendant. Palmer v. Shultz, 616 F.Supp. 1540 (D.D.C.1985). On appeal, we reversed the district court's findings of nondiscrimination in assignments, evaluations of female FSOs for potential, ......
  • 815 F.2d 84 (D.C. Cir. 1987), 85-6101, Palmer v. Shultz
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    • 24 Marzo 1987
    ...the Foreign Service from 1976 to 1983. After a trial, the District Page 87 Court found that no unlawful discrimination had occurred. See 616 F.Supp. 1540 (D.D.C.1985). This appeal followed. The record, however, discloses that the District Court's decision was premised on errors of law and t......
  • 662 F.Supp. 1551 (D.D.C. 1987), Civ. A. 76-1439, Palmer v. Shultz
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts District of Columbia
    • 2 Julio 1987
    ...defendant and dismissed the plaintiffs' remaining claims on the ground that no unlawful discrimination had occurred. Palmer v. Shultz, 616 F.Supp. 1540, 1561 The plaintiffs appealed the District Court's decision on seven Department of Page 1555 State personnel practices challenged at trial:......