16. In May or June, 1988, Mr. Greico began to monitor Mr. Cohen's performance directly. Mr. Greico served in this capacity until October, 1988. Tr., 12/1/94, p. 2.
17. During this time, Mr. Greico assigned Mr. Cohen to a number of projects. The Court finds that Mr. Cohen's performance was consistently unsatisfactory. For instance, regarding a contract for roofing repairs at a site in New Jersey, Mr. Cohen's missteps caused a lengthy delay in the awarding of the contract. Tr., 11/30/94, pp. 74-108.
18. Defendant presented other evidence of Mr. Cohen's failure to perform at the required level. See, e.g., Tr., 11/30/94, pp. 113-15 (Mr. Cohen's error has the effect of eliminating potentially appropriate bidders from competing for a certain project); 2/15/95, pp. 95-100 (Mr. Cohen delays in awarding a contract to remedy a situation in which pieces of marble were falling from a West Virginia building, allowing a potentially unsafe condition to go unaddressed for an unreasonable period of time).
19. In the fall of 1988, the Design and Construction Branch was restructured. Contract specialists were assigned to one of three section chiefs. Mr. Cohen was assigned to a section headed by Mr. Newberg. Tr., 2/16/95, pp. 19-20.
20. On October 21, 1988, Mr. Greico issued a "Warning Regarding Unacceptable Performance" to Mr. Cohen. The memorandum (1) advised Mr. Cohen that his performance had been unacceptable; (2) set forth a performance improvement plan by which Mr. Cohen could raise his performance level to an acceptable rating; and (3) warned Mr. Cohen that a failure to improve his performance could result in the denial of a within-grade increase, demotion, or removal. Gov't Ex. 8.
21. Mr. Cohen failed to show sufficient improvement over the course of the succeeding weeks. As a result, on December 15, 1988, Messrs. Newberg and Greico notified Mr. Cohen, by memorandum, that he would not receive a within-grade increase. The memorandum noted that Mr. Cohen had failed to demonstrate "sufficient improvement to be evaluated at least marginally successful at the GS12 level." Gov't Ex. 10. Mr. Zalut approved this action on February 7, 1989.
22. On December 29, 1988, Mr. Cohen submitted a letter of protest to Mr. Zalut. Mr. Cohen argued that the denial of the within-grade increase was the result of a "personal vendetta" Mr. Newberg harbored against him. The letter made no mention of religious discrimination. Gov't Ex. 113.
23. Mr. Cohen received an unacceptable performance rating for the period between March 1, 1988 and February 28, 1989. Gov't Ex. 11.
24. In February of 1989, Mr. Cohen filed an appeal of the denial of the within-grade increase with the MSPB, where he raised the issue of religious discrimination for the first time. A hearing was held over nine days between May 15 and June 15, 1989. Thus, between February and June, Mr. Cohen was absent from work for over twenty days preparing and presenting his appeal. Tr., 12/6/94, p. 39.
25. On May 19, 1989, Mr. Greico notified Mr. Cohen, by memorandum, that he was proposing Mr. Cohen's removal. In the memorandum, Mr. Greico noted that Mr. Cohen's performance had not reached an acceptable level, even after he had been warned that his continued failure to meet the position's requirements could result in his removal. Gov't Ex. 12.
26. Mr. Zalut concurred with Mr. Greico's recommendation. As a result, on June 30, 1989, Mr. Zalut removed Mr. Cohen from his position as a GS-12 contract specialist due to Mr. Cohen's unsatisfactory performance. Gov't Ex. 18.
27. Mr. Cohen presented a wealth of evidence at trial to show that he was treated differently from other contract specialists at GSA. For example, Mr. Cohen proved that he was subjected to Mr. Newberg's public criticisms, while others were not. Tr., 12/5/94, p. 20. Further, Mr. Cohen demonstrated that other contract specialists failed to meet the performance standards to which Mr. Cohen was held, but did not suffer the sort of consequences incurred by the plaintiff. See, e.g., Tr., 12/6/94, pp. 118-20, 125-29.
28. Mr. Cohen conceded at trial, however, that Mr. Zalut did not deny him his within-grade increase and eventually remove him from his position on account of religious discrimination. From Mr. Cohen's testimony:
Q. Do you believe that Mr. Zalut denied you your within grade increase and ultimately removed you because you were Jewish?
A. I don't believe Mr. Zalut is antisemitic.