Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, judicial review, employment discrimination, federal employee, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Ralph Hackley, an African American, was employed as an investigator within the Veteran Administration's Investigation and Security Service Division. He had served for one year at the GS-12 level when he was denied promotion. Hackley complained that this denial was based solely upon his race. The charge was investigated and he was afforded a hearing before a complaints examiner, who ruled that there had been no discrimination. This finding was adopted by the Veteran's Administration. Upon appeal, the Board of Appeals and Review of the Civil Service Commission affirmed. Having thus exhausted his administrative remedies, plaintiff commenced a civil action in the District Court for the District of Columbia pursuant to section 717(c) of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 (EEOA). He sought injunctive relief, retroactive promotion, and back pay, plus a declaratory judgment to the effect that he was to be free from discrimination. The district court, in Hackley v. Johnson (Hackley 1), granted the government's motion for summary judgment, holding that it only had jurisdiction to consider whether Hackley had been afforded administrative due process before the Civil Service Commission and that he had, in fact, received due process during the administrative hearing. In Hackley v. Roudebush (Hackley II), the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed, remanding Hackley's claim of discrimination for trial, concluding, inter alia, that section 717(c)'s grant of a private right of action requires the district court to conduct a trial de novo in civil actions filed under the section. In so ruling, the court fell into line with several other jurisdictions which had held that the vindication of a federal employee's rights under EEOA required more than mere review of the administrative record.



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