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LARRIMER v. PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE

October 17, 2005.

ROBERT C. LARRIMER, Plaintiff,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARTHUR SCHWAB, District Judge

Memorandum Opinion

This is an action in employment discrimination. Plaintiff, Robert C. Larrimer ("Larrimer") alleges that defendant, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare ("DPW") discriminated against him based upon his gender when he was not promoted to the position of director of the western area staff development of the DPW in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages. Defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) arguing that plaintiff cannot create a material issue of fact on his claim of reverse gender discrimination. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

I. FACTS

  Unless otherwise noted, the following facts, as gleaned from the parties joint statement of material facts, are not in dispute.

  1. This action was initiated by plaintiff, Larrimer, who claims that defendant, DPW discriminated against him based on his gender when a less experienced female was promoted to a position which he had sought. 2. In May of 2004, Larrimer sought promotion to the position of income maintenance staff development manager, or as it was also known, director of western area staff development. It is a supervisory and administrative position which is "responsible for directing the implementation, coordination, and evaluation of staff development programs in an assigned geographic area of the state."

  3. Harry Felice ("Felice") has been the director of the division of staff development since approximately 1999; he had previously held the position of director, southeast area staff development.

  4. Felice has six area directors who report to him. Of the six area directors, two are men and four are women. The two male area managers have held their positions since before Felice became the division director.

  5. All four female area managers, including Linda Toy ("Toy") were promoted since 1998. Because these positions reported directly to Felice, he convened the panels and participated in the interviews for all of these area managers.

  6. The final ranking sheets for the area manager promotions of Patricia Dills ("Dills") (in the northeast) and Evelynn Showell ("Showell") (in the Southeast) were purged from the divisional files and thus were not available for disclosure. However, based on Felice's recollections, Dills was promoted on July 26, 2002, she was selected over one other qualified male candidate and the promotion panel was composed of Felice and Timothy Philamac. Showell was promoted in May of 1998, she was selected over one other qualified female candidate and the promotion panel was composed of Felice and Georgine Beyer. 7. Currently, of the 24 staff development specialists in the area offices, there are 14 women and 10 men, including Larrimer.

  DPW's Selection Process for Hiring and Promotions

  8. The DPW utilizes a hiring/promotion process that consists of the following general steps:

  (a) A position announcement is advertised and/or posted listing necessary information about a particular job along with deadlines for response. All interested applicants are asked to submit a resume, which is then reviewed by the personnel office.

  (b) Once the qualified candidates are identified, these candidates are scheduled for individual interviews in front of a selection panel — which is compised of two to three people, preferrably of mixed races and genders.

  (c) The person to whom the selected employee will report forms the panel and all interviews are conducted at the same time.

  (d) A list of questions specific to the open position is developed for use at the interviews. The questions may also contain a list of factors to be considered by the panel when scoring the answers to the questions. Some panels permit the candidates to view the questions a few minutes before the interview begins, otherwise the candidates go into the interview "cold." The questions are asked "in rotation;" once a question is asked, there is no further questioning by, discussion of, or follow-up from the panelists.

  (e) The candidate's response to each question is scored by each interviewer individually on a scale of 1 to 10. At the end of each of the interviews, each panelist adds together each candidate's individual answer scores to obtain that candidate's score; at the conclusion of each candidate's interview the panelists may discuss the candidate's responses.

  (f) The panelists' score sheets are then tabulated and the candidates are ranked from highest to lower based on their cumulative scores. The highest ranked candidate is then offered the position, unless there are two or three closely ...


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