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JOAN M. GIBSON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/26/81)

decided: August 26, 1981.

JOAN M. GIBSON, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, BUREAU OF CHILD WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Joan M. Gibson v. Bureau of Child Welfare, Department of Public Welfare, Appeal No. 2703.

COUNSEL

Pamelee M. McFarland, Gibbel & Kraybill, for petitioner.

James S. Marshall, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Mencer, Craig and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 447]

Joan Gibson (appellant) appeals here from an adjudication and order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) which dismissed her appeal from a reassignment. We affirm.

Since August of 1973, appellant has been employed as a Welfare Program Specialist I at the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (Department). Between May of 1976, and December of 1978, appellant was assigned to the Department's Bureau of Youth Services where she supervised the Department's information system project. While she was still assigned to the Bureau of Youth Services, appellant filed a complaint with the Department's affirmative action office alleging (1) that she had been sexually harassed by her supervisor, Robert Sobolevitch, and (2) that she was not being promoted, and was not working within the proper pay classification, because of sexual discrimination. Following an investigation, the Department's affirmative action office concluded that appellant had not been discriminated against. Shortly after the filing of her complaint, however, and prior to the issuance of the affirmative action office's report, appellant was informed that she was being reassigned to the Department's Bureau of State Supervised Programs. Appellant subsequently appealed this reassignment to the Commission pursuant to Section 951(b) of the Civil Service Act (Act)*fn1 alleging (1) that her reassignment was the result of sexual discrimination,

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 448]

    or in the alternative, (2) that she was being reassigned as a result of her filing of an affirmative action grievance. Following a hearing, the majority of the Commission concluded that appellant's reassignment was not retaliatory or motivated by sexual discrimination. The present appeal followed.

Before this Court, appellant alleges that the Commission capriciously disregarded evidence indicating that her reassignment was the result of improper sexual discrimination. We disagree.

"A civil service employe, claiming discrimination in a personnel action, has the burden of going forward with evidence to support such charges." Tempero v. Department of Environmental Resources, 44 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 235, 237, 403 A.2d 226, 228 (1979). Also see: Heppel v. State Civil Service Commission, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 79, 330 A.2d 304 (1974). Where, as here, a civil service employe alleging discrimination has not prevailed below, our scope of review is limited to a determination as to whether or not the Commission capriciously disregarded competent evidence. Meiler v. Department of Banking, 58 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 346, 427 A.2d 783 (1981).

Before the Commission, appellant presented extensive evidence in an attempt to prove (1) that she had not received the proper pay classification for the job she performed at the Bureau of Youth Services, and (2) that she had been sexually harassed by her immediate supervisor, Robert Sobolevitch. Appellant freely admitted, however, that Robert Sobolevitch had nothing to do with her reassignment, and as the majority of the Commission correctly noted, the only evidence appellant submitted indicating that her reassignment was ...


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