Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

COHEN v. AUSTIN

October 11, 1995

ROBERT H. COHEN, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD G. AUSTIN, Administrator, General Services Administration, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOYNER

 Joyner, J.

 The plaintiff in this case is Robert H. Cohen, a 46-year old Jewish man who was denied a within-grade increase and eventually removed from his position as a GS-12 contract specialist with the General Services Administration ("GSA"). Mr. Cohen appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board ("MSPB") and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), both of which ruled in favor of the defendant. In September of 1992, Mr. Cohen filed a complaint in this Court, alleging that GSA denied him the within-grade increase, terminated him as a result of religious discrimination, reprisal, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq. Moreover, Mr. Cohen challenged the decision of the MSPB affirming the removal, denial of the within-grade increase.

 After the parties compiled an extensive record, each submitted a motion for summary judgment. On August 25, 1994, we reversed the decision of the MSPB with respect to the removal and denial of the within-grade increase, but denied the motions with respect to the issues of religious discrimination and reprisal, allowing them to proceed to trial. Cohen v. Austin, 861 F. Supp. 340, recons. denied, 869 F. Supp. 320 (E.D. Pa. 1994). Accordingly, this matter was tried before this Court in a non-jury trial over the course of 15 days in late 1994 and early 1995, concluding on February 22, 1995. The parties have submitted their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and the matter is now ripe for decision. Accordingly, the Court makes the following factual findings and legal conclusions.

 1. On December 20, 1987, GSA hired Mr. Cohen as a GS-12 contract specialist. Mr. Cohen was assigned to GSA's Design and Construction Contracts Branch. Gov't Ex. 1.

 2. Before he accepted the position at GSA, Mr. Cohen worked at the Defense Industrial Supply Center ("DISC"). One of his co-workers was Richard M. Newberg, who was a price analyst at DISC until he joined GSA as a contract specialist in November, 1986. Mr. Cohen and Mr. Newberg struck up a friendship. Tr., 2/15/95, pp. 78, 85.

 3. In 1987, Mr. Newberg became aware of the availability of several contracting positions at GSA. Mr. Newberg contacted Mr. Cohen and informed him of the openings. When Mr. Cohen expressed an interest, Mr. Newberg recommended him for the job. Tr., 2/15/95, pp. 83-85.

 4. Mr. Cohen's supervisor was Michael C. Greico, Jr., the Branch Chief. Tr., 11/29/94, p. 42.

 5. Mr. Greico's direct supervisor was Bruce M. Zalut, a Jewish man who served as Director of the Contracts Division during the time period relevant to this lawsuit. Tr., 11/29/94, p. 42; 11/30/94, p. 28.

 6. As a contract specialist, Mr. Cohen's responsibilities included: (1) negotiation on behalf of the government for the procurement of supplies, services and construction, (2) conducting cost and price analysis, and (3) the evaluation, award and administration of the contracts. Gov't Ex. 2.

 7. During the initial months of Mr. Cohen's employment, Mr. Newberg served as Mr. Cohen's informal "coach." In this capacity, Mr. Newberg provided Mr. Cohen with samples of his work, as well as general guidance regarding the nuances of the contract specialist position. Tr., 2/15/95, p. 87.

 8. Mr. Newberg's father was Jewish. Tr., 2/15/95, p. 187.

 9. Within a few months after Mr. Cohen began working in the Design and Construction Branch, the relationship between Mr. Newberg and Mr. Cohen began to sour. Mr. Newberg perceived that Mr. Cohen was having difficulty grasping the requisites of his position. Moreover, Mr. Newberg began to hear complaints regarding Mr. Cohen's performance from others. Tr., 2/15/95, p. 89.

 10. By April or May of 1988, Mr. Greico noticed that Mr. Cohen had failed to submit his work for review in a timely fashion, thereby delaying the awarding of contracts. Tr., 11/29/94, p. 58.

 11. Mr. Newberg would berate Mr. Cohen in front of other personnel in the Design and Construction Branch, and would take a condescending and sarcastic tone with Mr. Cohen, talking to him as though he were a child. Tr., 12/5/94, pp. 6, 20, 23. In this respect, Mr. Newberg treated Mr. Cohen in a manner different from other contract specialists. Tr., 12/5/94, p. 20.

 12. Mr. Newberg publicly told Mr. Cohen that he was dumb and stupid, and once commented that Mr. Cohen was the "dumbest Jew" he had ever seen. Further, Mr. Newberg made reference to Mr. Cohen's yarmulke, which he termed a "beanie." Tr., 12/5/94, pp. 49-50, 60. Finally, regarding an office party that Mr. Cohen did not attend, Mr. Newberg remarked that Mr. Cohen would have enjoyed the party because bagels and cream cheese were served. Tr., 11/30/94, p. 28.

 13. In late April or early May of 1988, Mr. Newberg invited Mr. Cohen for a lunchtime walk to discuss Mr. Cohen's performance. Specifically, Mr. Newberg related his displeasure with Mr. Cohen's demonstrated inability to move a project through the system in a timely fashion. Moreover, Mr. Newberg expressed dissatisfaction with Mr. Cohen's failure to develop an understanding of the requisites of his position. Tr., 2/15/95, pp. 95-100.

 14. In late May, 1988, Mr. Cohen complained to Mr. Greico regarding the manner in which Mr. Newberg had been treating ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.