Appellate Court Supports Discrimination Claim Dismissal

May 22, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal appellate court has upheld a lower court decision throwing out a hiring discrimination suit against the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).

The 3 rd  U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe  of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania was right when she ruled that plaintiff Carol Oleksiak had not put forth a strong enough case that the SSA had wrongfully discriminated against Oleksiak by not hiring her as a benefits authorizer.

Oleksiak had charged she was the victim of race, age and gender discrimination by SSA managers. The appellate judges said she had not presented evidence disproving the SSA’s contention that that the successful candidates were chosen strictly on the basis of their supervisors’ comments on six job-related criteria.

The appellate decision, written by Circuit Judge Michael A. Chagares, said  Oleksiak offered no real evidence, other than her own statements and suppositions, as proof of pretext in this case. It said that Oleksiak must “do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts” to overcome a motion for dismissal.

The opinion in Oleksiak v. Barnhart, 3d Cir., No. 06-1148 (May 4, 2007) is  here .

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