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CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL PITTSBURGH v. CITY PITTSBURGH COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS AND NAOMI HALE. NAOMI HALE (05/14/86)

decided: May 14, 1986.

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PITTSBURGH
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS AND NAOMI HALE. NAOMI HALE, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in case of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh v. City of Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations and Naomi Hale, No. SA 9 of 1984.

COUNSEL

Cheryl Allen Craig, with her, Elaine V. Preston, for appellant.

Walter G. Bleil, with him, John H. Hill, Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellee.

Judges Rogers and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Blatt

[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 229]

The City of Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations (Commission) and Naomi Hale (Ms. Hale) appeal the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which reversed the Commission's order in favor of Ms. Hale and against her employer, the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (Hospital).

After an evidentiary hearing, the Commission found as fact that Ms. Hale, who is black, was qualified to perform

[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 230]

    the job she sought, Director of the Hospital's Word Processing Department (Department), and that by virtue of her educational background, experience and employment history with the Hospital, she was the superior candidate. The Commission also found that the Hospital denied this position to Ms. Hale because of her race and it concluded, therefore, that the Hospital's failure to offer that position to Ms. Hale was in violation of Section 659.02(a) of the City of Pittsburgh Code (Code).*fn1

The Hospital appealed and, upon the record made before the Commission,*fn2 the common pleas court reversed on the ground that substantial evidence did not support the finding that Ms. Hale was the superior candidate. The common pleas court opined that Ms. Hale was, at best, equally qualified with the successful candidate, Marlene Little (Ms. Little), a white woman from outside the Hospital's organization, and that Ms. Hale had failed to demonstrate that she would have been hired "but for" her race.

[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 231]

The principles governing appeals from the Commission's adjudication*fn3 were laid down in General Electric Page 231} Corporation v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, 469 Pa. 292, 365 A.2d 649 (1976), in which our Supreme Court adopted the rationale of the United States Supreme Court in McDonnell-Douglas Corporation v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). And, in construing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 2000e through 2000e-17, McDonnell-Douglas holds that a complainant meets his burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination by showing his membership in a protected minority, his application for a job for which he was qualified, the refusal of his application and the continued search by the employer for other applicants of equal qualifications. Upon such demonstration, the burden shifts to the employer to prove legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for rejecting the complainant; thereupon, the complainant must be afforded an opportunity to prove that the employer's reasons for rejecting him are actually pretextual, i.e., a coverup for a racially discriminatory decision. The ultimate burden of persuasion of intentional illegal discrimination, however, remains at all times on the complainant, and it may be carried either directly by persuading the court that a discriminatory reason probably motivated the employer or indirectly by showing that the employer's explanation is unworthy of credence. Texas Department of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248 (1981).

Ms. Hale contends here that she presented a prima facie case of discrimination, and that she sufficiently demonstrated that the Hospital's alleged reason for refusing her the position of director was because of her race. As the Commission correctly concluded from its findings, which are supported by the record, Ms. Hale certainly established a prima facie case of racial discrimination. ...


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