situations and her concern that she might subject herself to criticism for improperly supervising plaintiff.
Haley testified that she considered plaintiff's relationship with representatives of outside agencies. She recalled a meeting at which representatives of several other social service agencies were present. Plaintiff dominated the conversation and informed all participants that she and the Bethlehem workers did everything possible and that other agencies including the Bethlehem police did not do enough. At the conclusion the gentlemen who had called the meeting told Haley of his displeasure with plaintiff's conduct and complained that nothing had been accomplished because plaintiff had not allowed others to speak. Haley also received a complaint from a Youth Outreach worker who told her that he had difficulty working with plaintiff who apparently "had a chip on her shoulder". A representative of the county board of assistance also informed Haley that he had received from his employees numerous complaints that plaintiff had harassed them. He asked Haley for designation of a liaison between the Bureau and the board of assistance and suggested White for the job.
In addition, an applicant for employment with the Bureau declined an offer because, he told Haley, his contacts with plaintiff had given him a negative image of the Bureau. One of the defendant commissioners, Hahn, informed Haley that a realtor had complained to him that plaintiff had been rude. From the director of the county Mental Health/Mental Retardation Agency Haley received a letter complaining that plaintiff had supported a family in their efforts to bring into the county two retarded children without first making adequate provisions in the Bethlehem area for their care. In June of 1972 the sergeant in charge of the Juvenile Aid Division of the Bethlehem police department told Haley that he had received many complaints from his officers concerning plaintiff and asked Haley to find someone else to work with the department.
Haley also testified that she had been informed of a meeting at the Bethlehem Housing Authority which plaintiff and Machell attended. At this meeting plaintiff became angry with the executive director of the agency and ranted at him that he should resign or quit if he persisted in his attitude. Machell corroborated this information during her testimony. Haley also testified that with respect to many of these instances, plaintiff may have been justified in her opinion, but her method of conveying her point of view did not conduce to motivating people with whom she dealt; her unprofessional methods created lingering and needless antagonism.
In contrast, Haley never received any requests by caseworkers or other employees for transfers away from the supervision of McLaughlin or White. To the contrary, she received positive comments from caseworkers and other employees from time to time. The results of the employee survey showed that McLaughlin's supervisees appeared satisfied with her. Haley also received comments from White's supervisees that they appreciated her trust in them and that she gave them credit and support in their work. Haley testified that both McLaughlin and White worked well with other supervisors, excepting plaintiff. Haley testified that White and McLaughlin always attended supervisors' meetings except when on vacation or for other compelling reasons. Haley heard compliments, not complaints, concerning White and McLaughlin from outside agencies. Haley further testified that she did not always agree with McLaughlin or White, but they always were able to settle their differences amicably and without friction and that these disagreements did not affect their working relationships.
Admittedly, subjective evaluations and personal factors inherent in the promotion of professionals, particularly to supervisory positions, figured into and affected Haley's ultimate determination. Personality of candidates was a valid factor to consider in determining an employee's qualifications for promotion to a professional, managerial position when the ability to perform required skills could not easily be verified objectively. Where, as here, job responsibilities included extensive contact with the public, other employees, both superior and subordinate within the organization, and other companies and groups with whom business is conducted, personality definitely affected an individual's ability to perform efficaciously. See Saracini v. Missouri Pacific Railroad, 431 F. Supp. 389 (E.D.Ark.1977), Bradington v. International Business Machines, 360 F. Supp. 845 (D.Md.1973), aff'd, 492 F.2d 1240 (4th Cir. 1974), Frockt v. Olin Corp., 344 F. Supp. 369 (S.D.Ind.1972). Logically, an individual's past, demonstrated inability to interact effectively and smoothly with others and to cope maturely and professionally with regularly encountered vicissitudes of an employment situation also constitutes a legitimate and important factor. See Logan v. St. Luke's Hospital Center, 428 F. Supp. 127 (S.D.N.Y.1977).
In the case at bar the county's personnel policies as well as the factors addressed by plaintiff's own expert warranted invocation of the reasonable criteria which Haley used and applied in a non-discriminatory manner. At best, her conclusion that plaintiff was not as qualified as the other two candidates had a reasonable basis in fact and comprised a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for her ultimate decision, Board of Trustees of Keene State College v. Sweeney, supra ; at worst, defendants' evidence raised a genuine issue of fact as to whether they discriminated against plaintiff. Texas Department of Community Affairs v. Burdine, supra.
To show that defendants' articulation was pretextual, plaintiff pointed to the fact that, although the personnel policies required periodic evaluations, she never received a written evaluation from Haley, who explained that the combination of her own inexperience and the rapid growth of the agency between 1970 and 1973 accounted for her failure to evaluate not only plaintiff but also more than one-half of the other employees, supervisors and caseworkers. Thus, white employees as well as plaintiff never received evaluations. Concerning plaintiff, Haley candidly admitted her fear of another ugly confrontation. Plaintiff also pointed to Haley's failure to post or otherwise notify the staff of the impending creation of the Social Worker III position. Haley testified that the personnel policies did not require posting unless the agency recruited from outside its own staff. Plaintiff adduced no regulation requiring posting. Plaintiff also referred to statements which she attributed to Haley during her employment interview in 1970. Supposedly Haley commented that the staff had never been supervised by a black and that most of the agency's clientele were white. Haley denied making any reference to race in the initial employment interview.
Plaintiff also pointed to the fact that Haley, noting her neighbors' prejudices, declined to invite plaintiff into her home on one occasion, which Haley explained was a time when her home was not in a suitable condition for entertaining and the two were in a hurry to get to a meeting. Plaintiff admitted, however, that Haley had invited Shirley Watson, a black woman, to her home numerous times for social visits.
Plaintiff also testified to statements made by Haley to describe her experiences working in a "ghetto" section of St. Louis. Haley allegedly mimicked the speech of blacks by using the term "you all". Haley confessed that she did relate some of her St. Louis experiences to plaintiff but said that she did not convey her remarks in any racial context or derogatory way. Most of Haley's St. Louis clients were white, she explained, and the term "you all" merely reflected their speech as well as her own.
Plaintiff also indicated that in 1970, while Haley was out of town, plaintiff assumed charge of both the Bethlehem and Easton offices. However, at that time, plaintiff was the only supervisor at the Bureau. Naturally she would be assigned this task. Prior to hiring plaintiff, Haley designated a senior caseworker; subsequent to hiring Sweitzer, McLaughlin and White, she placed each of them in charge at various times.
Plaintiff also testified that she asked Haley why she had not been promoted and specifically whether the reason was her race. Haley did not respond. Haley denied that plaintiff ever asked her that question, which Haley said she would have answered negatively to refute the insinuation. Finally, plaintiff pointed to the fact that blacks comprised 1.8% of the population in Northampton County in 1973 when defendants announced the promotions. At that time plaintiff was the only black Social Worker II. The other three supervisors and approximately twenty to twenty-five caseworkers were all white. Although statistics may be offered to prove pretext, Smithers v. Bailar, supra, Whack v. Peabody & Wind Engineering Co., 595 F.2d 190 (3d Cir. 1979), they must bear some direct relationship to the position the applicant sought. Hazelwood School District v. United States, supra, Mazus v. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, supra. Plaintiff's statistical evidence showed that in 1973 plaintiff was one of four Social Worker II or 25% of the agency's supervisory staff. If the caseworkers are also considered, plaintiff was one of twenty-nine or 3.45% of the total professional staff, a figure still much higher than the percentage of blacks in the general population. Moreover, plaintiff was the only black qualified for promotion to Social Worker III in the county. Her statistics fail to show that defendants' reasons for not promoting her were pretextual, particularly in light of the fact that defendants had only three persons from whom to select. See Morita v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group, 541 F.2d 217, 220 (9th Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1050, 97 S. Ct. 761, 50 L. Ed. 2d 765 (1977) ("plaintiff's use of only eight persons in his statistical analysis is much too small to have any significant benefit to his position").
In summary, plaintiff was the first supervisor hired by the county upon the recommendation of Haley, who went to considerable lengths to obtain an initial salary for plaintiff in excess of the usual starting salary. To accommodate plaintiff's babysitting difficulties and to avert her resignation, Haley arranged for plaintiff to work part-time. Haley also testified that she hired every black professional employee whose name appeared on a Civil Service list. She also enjoyed a personal friendship with Shirley Watson, a black, encouraged and assisted her in furthering her education and later offered her a supervisory position with the Bureau. Haley belonged to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in St. Louis and attempted to join the Allentown chapter thereof upon her arrival in the Lehigh Valley. Under these circumstances, plaintiff has not proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendants' stated reasons for failing to promote her were a mere pretext for racial discrimination. Title VII does not authorize preferential treatment to minorities, Steelworkers v. Weber, 443 U.S. 193, 99 S. Ct. 2721, 61 L. Ed. 2d 480 (1979), or require maximization of minority hiring or promotion. Title VII proscribes employment decisions based upon unlawful criteria. Texas Department of Community Affairs v. Burdine, supra. Accordingly, judgment will be entered for defendants and against plaintiff on this claim.
V. SECTION 1983 CLAIM
The Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, provides in pertinent part that
(e)very person who, under color of any statute, ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws shall be liable ...