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PITTSBURGH COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS v. CENTRAL BLOOD BANK PITTSBURGH (07/05/83)

decided: July 5, 1983.

PITTSBURGH COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS, APPELLANT
v.
CENTRAL BLOOD BANK OF PITTSBURGH, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations and Duwayne Booker, No. S.A. 620 of 1979.

COUNSEL

Michael Louik, with him Thomas D. MacMullan, MacMullan & Associates, P.C., for appellant.

Estelle F. Comay, with her Robert L. Potter, Titus, Marcus & Shapira, for appellee.

Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Williams

[ 75 Pa. Commw. Page 378]

On May 21, 1979, the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission (Commission) adjudged that the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh (Central) was guilty of racial discrimination in failing to hire Duwayne Booker for a job opening. The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County reversed the Commission, concluding that the Commission's adjudication was not supported by substantial evidence. From the trial court's order the Commission filed the instant appeal.

Central is a non-profit corporation that distributes blood to hospitals in the Pittsburgh area. Pursuant to that function, Central operates a fleet of delivery trucks. The present litigation arose from Central's failure to hire Booker for an available job opening as truck driver.

As of December 1977, Duwayne Booker worked on Central's premises as a security guard. However, as of that time, Booker was actually in the employ of Gregg Security Services, Inc., which had a contract with Central. Booker had been assigned to Central since late August 1977. On December 28, 1977, Booker saw a notice on a bulletin board at Central advertising an opening for the job of truck driver. Thereupon, Booker filed a job application with Central's personnel director, Ms. Jean Rogers.

After a preliminary screening, the personnel director determined that Mr. Booker met the job qualifications: (1) possession of a valid Pennsylvania driver's license; (2) ability to operate a manual transmission; (3) ability to operate a one-and-half ton truck; (4) ability to unload supplies; (5) familiarity with area streets, highways and hospitals; and (6) ability or willingness to work irregular hours. On February 28, 1978, almost two months after Booker had submitted his application, Central hired Mark Stuckert to fill the

[ 75 Pa. Commw. Page 379]

    job opening. Mr. Stuckert is white; Mr. Booker is black.

On March 6, 1978, Booker filed a complaint with the Commission, charging that Central had denied him the job because of his race.*fn1 Pursuant to that complaint, the Commission held a hearing on March 12, 1979. One of the points established was that, at the time Booker applied for a driver's job, Central had only one black driver and eleven white drivers. That one black driver had been hired in October 1977, about two months before Mr. Booker applied.

Booker's testimony included a description of what he viewed to be his special qualifications for the job. He stated that he had gained experience driving trucks of several types while in the army, and that his experience as a local cab driver made him familiar with the geographic area served by Central. Booker also testified that he was familiar with Central's operation, pointing out that he had been assigned there for several months as a security guard. According to Booker, he supplied all of the foregoing information to Central's personnel director during his interview for the driver's job. On the written job application that he submitted, Booker listed four previous job experiences, and set forth that he had graduated from high school and had attended a military quartermaster school.

There was no evidence at the Commission's hearing concerning the content of Central's interview of Mark Stuckert, the person who got the job. Mr. Stuckert's job application showed that he had been the assistant manager of a relative's gas station, and that he had experience driving a tow truck. Stuckert's application listed no other job experiences.

[ 75 Pa. Commw. Page 380]

Complainant Booker testified that, when he did not get the job, he sought to learn why from the head of Central's transportation department, Thomas Tobias. Mr. Tobias is also black. According to Booker, Tobias denied having any responsibility for the rejection and stated that the decision had been made by the personnel director, Ms. Rogers. However, according to Tobias' testimony, it was he who made the decision to reject Booker and to hire Mark Stuckert. Tobias added that, as head of the transportation department, job applicants were rejected or hired on his recommendation.*fn2 As to his reason for rejecting Booker, Tobias testified that he had seen Booker smoking a marijuana cigarette about a week before the hiring decision was made. Tobias also stated that Mark Stuckert had been an ...


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