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Paulette Taylor and Harriett Gantt file federal class action complaint on behalf of Black Female class members whose claims were denied by the Administrative Judge’s Decision and the OFO
On September 26, 2019, Paulette Taylor and Harriett Gantt filed a class action complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore challenging the Social Security Administration’s race and gender discrimination against Black Females regarding denial of promotions at SSA Headquarters. The case asserts the same type of challenge to SSA’s promotion discrimination against Black Females that was the subject of the administrative litigation known as Taylor and Harley, et al. v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration that, after almost two decades, culminated in the recent OFO appellate decision affirming the Administrative Judge’s decision. See other entries on this website for details about those decisions.
The new case is captioned Taylor and Gantt, et al. v. Saul, Commissioner of the U.S. Social Security Administration. The federal court class action covers all Black Females’ promotion claims who were covered by Taylor and Harley, except GS-11’s. That is because the GS-11’s won their claims in the Administrative Judge’s decision in Taylor and Harley and that decision was affirmed by the OFO. Accordingly, the Taylor and Gantt complaint covers the promotion claims of Black Females at SSA HQ in GS-7, GS-8, GS-9, GS-10, GS-12, and GS-13, since the beginning of the Taylor and Harley case. The Clerk of the Court assigned civil case number CCB-19-2830. Taylor and Gantt, who are both proposed as class representatives in the federal case, filed the case pro se (meaning, on their own, as parties), but will be seeking new counsel for the litigation. While not available for the new federal litigation, Taylor and Harley class counsel did assist Taylor and Gantt with the crafting of the complaint and will assist them in the search for new litigation counsel
The GS-11 promotions claims from the Taylor and Harley, et al. v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration case in the EEOC are currently the subject of a Motion For Reconsideration filed by the SSA. Therefore, no notice has yet been delivered to GS-11’s regarding the next step for the GS-11’s in the administrative proceedings. It is unknown how long the OFO will take to decide the Motion For Reconsideration regarding the GS-11’s, but that is why GS-11’s were not included in the Taylor and Gantt federal filing – to include GS-11’s would have given up their not-quite-complete victory in the administrative proceedings. If the Motion For Reconsideration is denied, the GS-11’s will receive notice from the Agency and will be able to proceed to individual liability and damages proceedings with a presumption of liability – significant because the presumption is difficult to overcome. Taylor and Harley Class Counsel will be available to represent GS-11’s in these future proceedings.
On Appeal, the OFO Affirmed the Administrative Judge’s Decision in the Class Action Case
On July 26, 2019, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (“OFO”) issued a decision upholding the Administrative Judge’s decision in the Taylor and Harley, et al. v. Administrator, Social Security Administration class action case.
The OFO upheld the Administrative Judge’s decision entirely.
Specifically, the OFO upheld the finding of discrimination by the SSA against Black Females who sought promotions from GS-11 positions to GS-12 positions. The Administrative Judge had established a class of those Black Females in GS-11 positions who sought GS-12 jobs.
The OFO also upheld the findings against all other promotion claims for Black Females class members in all the grade levels from GS-7 to GS-13, except GS-11
The OFO also upheld the findings against the individual race/gender discrimination claims of the two Class Agents.
The SSA has filed a Motion For Reconsideration of the finding in favor of the GS-11 class. Class Counsel has filed an Opposition to that motion. The GS-11 finding will not be final until the OFO rules on the Agency’s Motion For Reconsideration
The next steps are:
- For GS-11’s who sought promotions to GS-12 jobs – Await decision on the Motion For Reconsideration. At that time, if that Motion is denied, the Agency will be required to post notices about filing individual claims for individual findings pursuant to an established presumption of discrimination against the class, and for individual relief. More information will be posted at the SSA Headquarters, and here, when that happens.
- For all other grades, there are two options:
- File an EEOC individual charge of discrimination if you believe you were discriminated against as a Black Female. The Administrative Judge’s findings and the OFO decision do not mean your individual claim is denied. You can still file an individual claim, but you should do so right away. If you previously filed an individual claim, and it was “subsumed” into the Taylor and Harley case, you may tell the EEOC that you want your individual claim reactivated. Or you can refile the charge.
- File a case in federal district court. Class Counsel is conferring with the Class Agents Paulette Taylor and Debra Harley about this potential course of action, including a potential class action. However, if you want to file an individual case, you should file by September 26, 2019. Class Counsel will probably not be able to represent you, but will advise you, if you request, how you can file a case and seek other representation.
There will be a meeting for all Class Members – all grades GS-7 through GS-13, including GS-11’s – on Friday, September 6, 2019, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the OFO decision, options for the next steps, and relief for the GS-11 class.
The meeting will be held at:
|Renaissance Outreach and Educational Center
6665 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, Maryland 21207
(Between Sudsville 24 hour laundry and Fox Chevrolet and across from McDonalds on Security Boulevard)
All Class Members should attend if they can. Both the Class Agents and Class Counsel will be there. Bring all your questions.
If you are unable to download any of these documents, please contact the Class Agents or Class Counsel.
Class Agent Paulette Taylor
• Phone: (410) 965-4920
• Email: Paulette.Taylor@ssa.gov or email@example.com
Class Agent Debra Harley
• Phone: (410) 965-4891
• Email: Debra.Harley@ssa.gov
Class Counsel Timothy Fleming
WIGGINS CHILDS PANTAZIS FISHER GOLDFARB, PLLC
1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Direct: (202) 467-4489 ∙ Fax: (205) 314-0805 firstname.lastname@example.org ∙ www.wigginschilds.com
Please note that former Class Counsel David Rose is retired, and he is no longer active in the case.