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ANNA M. TEMPERO v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/13/79)

decided: July 13, 1979.

ANNA M. TEMPERO, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, RESPONDENT. STEPHEN J. STERANCHAK, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission in cases of Anna M. Tempero v. Department of Environmental Resources, Appeal No. 2132; and Stephen J. Steranchak v. Department of Environmental Resources, Appeal No. 2133.

COUNSEL

Steven J. Zivic, with him Beverly A. Braverman, for appellants.

Gary L. Martin, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 236]

These are two appeals, consolidated for present purposes, filed by Anna M. Tempero (Tempero) and Stephen J. Steranchak (Steranchak) from separate orders of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission). In both cases, the Commission dismissed the individual appeals and sustained the action of the Department of Environmental Resources (D.E.R.) in the reassignment of Tempero and Steranchak (Petitioners) from their positions as Environmental Protection Specialists III, regular status. We affirm.

The facts are not materially in dispute. Petitioners' reassignments, effective January 17, 1977, were part of a broader reassignment involving four persons, including Tempero and Steranchak, all Environmental Protection Specialists III in the Pittsburgh Regional Office of the Bureau of Water Quality Management (Bureau). The reassignments caused these four people

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 237]

    to exchange work responsibilities and, as determined by the Commission, were made, not because of the inability of these employes to perform their duties satisfactorily, but for the purpose of improving the operations of D.E.R. Petitioners have continually maintained, however, that their reassignments were based upon discriminatory motives in violation of Section 905.1 of the Civil Service Act (Act), Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, as amended, 71 P.S. § 741.905.*fn1 In particular, they both allege that the reassignments were grounded on prohibited non-merit factors. Tempero also contends that her reassignment was a result of sex discrimination.*fn2

A civil service employe, claiming discrimination in a personnel action, has the burden of going forward with evidence to support such charges. Heppel v. State Civil Service Commission, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 79,

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 238330]

A.2d 304 (1974); Angel v. State Civil Service Commission, 9 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 582, 309 A.2d 69 (1973). A reassignment is, of course, a personnel action within the meaning of Section 905.1. 4 Pa. Code § 105.2(a)(10). As we view this case, the deficiency in Petitioners' argument stems from their failure to meet the requisite burden of proof.

In the first place, both Tempero and Steranchak failed to specify with any degree of precision the reasons behind the alleged discrimination. Our Supreme Court has stated that one challenging an unfavorable personnel action must first enumerate with specificity the underlying bases of the claimed discriminatory acts. Hunter v. Jones, 417 Pa. 372, 207 A.2d 784 (1965). Petitioners' sole allegation was a mere recitation that the assignments were based on non-merit factors. Nowhere is there an elaboration of this statement. We do not rest our decision on the insufficiency of their allegations, however, ...


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