EEOC addresses “mixed motive” federal employee case. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex and age. Complainant alleged she was not selected for a position because the job posting was cancelled and an Agency Representative said “I can tell you that [Complainant] is never going to be hired back.” Following the initial investigation Complainant requested a hearing in which the Administrative Judge (AJ) issued an order for the Agency to supplement the investigation by producing all notes and scoring documentation relating to the ranking of candidates for the position. Thereafter the AJ denied Complainant’s motion for judgment and sanctions noting that Complainant did not establish a prima facie case of reprisal; however, the AJ also found that the Complainant had established that she was subjected to discrimination when she was not selected for the position and that Complainant’s race was a motivating factor. Despite the findings of discrimination, the AJ also found that hiring for the position would have been canceled even absent the discrimination. The AJ ordered discrimination training for the Agency and denying Complainant compensatory damages or back pay. The Agency issued a final order adopting the AJ’s decision in its entirety and complainant appealed.

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) had to determine if the mixed motive case had been properly decided. The OFO held that the AJ had properly assessed the evidence and addressed the issues, and awarded correct damages as in mixed motive cases a Complainant is not entitled to compensatory damages or back pay.

Iliana S. v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 2019005824 (Dec. 7. 2020)

Attorney Kirk J. Angel represents US Postal Service (USPS) employees throughout the US in EEO and EEOC hearings.