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GARLAND v. USAIR

April 25, 1991

PHILIP A. GARLAND, PLAINTIFF,
v.
USAIR, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ziegler, District Judge.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Plaintiff, Philip A. Garland, is a black male who filed a civil action for money damages, declaratory and injunctive relief against defendants, USAir, Inc., and the Air Line Pilots Association, based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

2. Plaintiff Garland contends that USAir violated Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, by failing to hire him and hiring less qualified white applicants for the position of pilot. Mr. Garland also claims that he was harassed and suffered retaliation in violation of Title VII.

3. Jurisdiction is based on 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3) and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a).

4. Plaintiff Garland has satisfied all administrative prerequisites to the filing of this action, including filing written charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; investigation by the agency; a finding of reasonable cause to believe that USAir violated Title VII by failing to hire because of race; receipt of a notice of the right to sue; and the timely filing of a complaint.

5. Defendant USAir, Inc., published objective criteria for hiring pilots in a Flight Operations Manual. In the April 24, 1981 insert to the Manual, USAir stated that pilot hires should have, inter alia, approximately 1,200 total hours of flying experience with a large percentage of multi-engine and/or heavy aircraft experience, and a high school diploma with college background preferred. The insert of December 25, 1981, called for approximately 2,000 hours of total flying experience with a large percentage of multi-engine and/or heavy aircraft experience, a high school diploma and a minimum of two years of college. The insert of March 2, 1984 contained the same requirements as the December 25, 1981 insert.

6. From 1981 until 1987, Donna Formoso was the pilot recruitment coordinator who worked for the Vice Presidents of Flying, Ronald Sessa (1980-1983) and William Leefe (1983-1988). Miss Formoso screened the applications that USAir received and selected those applicants who met objective qualifications. She then transmitted the file to Captains Sessa and/or Leefe for their consideration for interview. She learned the required qualifications from discussions with Captains Sessa and Leefe and through her experience on the job. Captain Sessa or Captain Leefe only received applications that met the minimum qualifications. Ms. Formoso testified that she kept a separate file that contained the applications of black pilots. This file contained approximately ten applications at any time.

7. Although all applications were to be processed by Ms. Formoso, an alternative hiring channel existed wherein relatives, friends and applicants sponsored by influential persons were referred directly to Captains Sessa or Leefe. These applications by-passed screening for minimum qualifications by Ms. Formoso. Captain Sessa or Leefe then reviewed these applications and told Ms. Formoso whether to schedule these individuals for interview. In the period 1981-84, 463 pilots were hired, 19 of whom had relatives at USAir and at least 39 of whom had influential, non-relative referrals. All of these 58 applicants were white.

8. At or prior to an interview, Captains Sessa and Leefe would review the applicant's application. The first page contained the following question: "Do you have any relatives working for USAir?" They also received a summary of the person's qualifications, prepared by Ms. Formoso, which included a section "Referred by."

9. The 17 black pilots hired in 1981-1984 were processed by Ms. Formoso and, at a minimum, satisfied the written objective qualifications published in the USAir Flight Operations Manual.

10. Every pilot who was hired through the alternative hiring channel, which bypassed screening by Ms. Formoso, was white. Some of the pilots hired through this channel failed to meet the minimum objective written qualifications that USAir established. In assessing the qualifications of these applicants, the Vice President of Flying used undefined, subjective and reduced standards which were unknown to anyone else. This channel was not open to qualified black applicants.

11. Captain Sidney Clark, a black pilot, testified that he was told to use the objective qualifications for pilots which were published in the USAir Flight Operations Manual. He submitted 130-140 applications of black pilots who met or exceeded the minimum qualifications to Ms. Formoso, the pilot recruitment coordinator, not to the Vice Presidents. Only 8 or 9 of these referrals were interviewed and only 3 were hired.

12. Captain Clark testified that he submitted the applications of two graduates of the United States Air Force Academy, which Captain Leefe said would be an extremely impressive credential. Neither graduate of the Air Force Academy was interviewed.

13. Captain Clark testified that he encountered such lack of success in getting qualified black applicants interviewed that he concluded that submission of an application by him was detrimental to the applicant. He testified that he instructed one applicant not to say that he knew Captain Clark. When that applicant said at his interview that he did not know Captain Clark, he was hired.

14. Captain Clark was a credible witness who testified without apparent bias to either party. He substantiated the failure of USAir to hire qualified black pilot applicants whose applications were hand-delivered to Ms. Formoso.

15. Philip A. Garland was an experienced airline pilot when he applied for hire with USAir by submitting a resume in March 1981 with a photograph which showed that he was a black male. He submitted a formal application in July 1981 together with a photograph.

16. Although he submitted an application in July 1981, Garland was not interviewed by USAir until October 1982 at which time he was found to be qualified. Captain Garland was hired in December 1984.

17. During the fifteen months that Plaintiff Garland waited to be called for an interview, USAir continued to interview white applicants, many of whom were less qualified than plaintiff. The court finds that USAir hired a number of white relative and influential referral applicants, as well as less or equally qualified white applicants, while Captain Garland waited to be hired.

18. of the other nine applicants who were interviewed with Mr. Garland on October 20, 1982, all of whom were white, two were found unacceptable and one failed the simulator test. That applicant was retested on the simulator in November 1982 and found qualified. She was hired in December 1982. of the eight candidates who were found to he acceptable, all but Captain Garland were offered positions immediately. One refused, and the other six were hired in the period November 1982 to January 1983, before Captain Garland was hired.

19. Plaintiff Garland received a lower experience rating than 24 of the 39 white pilot applicants identified as having influential non-relative referrals, despite the fact that he had more total flight hours than 37 of the 39 applicants and more multi-engine flight hours than 31 of the 39 applicants. Only 8 of the 39 were airline pilots.

20. Plaintiff Garland received a lower background rating than 19 of the 30 "influential referral group" applicants despite the fact that he had an ATP certificate and 11 members of this group did not; plaintiff had a flight engineer certificate and 26 members did not; and he had an FAA type rating on jet aircraft and 27 had neither an FAA type rating on jet aircraft nor turbo prop aircraft.

21. Professor James Kenkel concluded, and this court finds that, based on objective criteria, Captain Garland should have been given higher subjective scores for background and experience.

22. Captain Garland should have been interviewed and hired shortly after submitting his application in July 1981. USAir did not hire him with the November 1982 class when Captain Sessa testified that he was qualified or with the March 1983 class when there was no question that he had successfully completed all phases of the interview process.

24. Professor Kenkel reached the conclusion that, based on objective data which he used, Captain Garland was the most qualified applicant in his interview group and among the top eight applicants of the 91; yet he was not hired until almost three and one-half years after he had applied.

25. Professor Kenkel concluded, and this court finds that:

A. USAir did not hire the most qualified applicants. Captain Garland was better qualified than many of the applicants who were hired.

B. Captain Garland was better qualified than the typical white applicant in his sample.

C. Captain Garland was better qualified than the typical applicant who had a relative at USAir.

D. Captain Garland was better qualified than the typical applicant who had an influential non-relative referral.

E. Captain Garland was better qualified than the typical applicant who was deficient in some way based on ...


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