Rights Body Demotion Ruled Illegal; EEOC Panel Says Commission Retaliated against worker.(NATION)

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Miller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A panel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that officials at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights retaliated against an employee for filing two federal complaints over procedures at the commission.

The panel, upholding a previous ruling from an administrative judge, has ordered that the employee, Emma Monroig, be reinstated and paid $165,000 in damages, legal fees and costs.

The panel also found that an affidavit by the agency's staff director at the time addressing the reasons for Miss Monroig's demotion "lacked credibility" and was a "pretext for discrimination."

Miss Monroig, in her initial complaint, said that she was discriminated against because she is Hispanic - charges that were never proved despite the decision's mention of discrimination.

The case was filed in 1994. In accordance with legal procedure, civil rights commission Chairman Mary Frances Berry was named as the defendant.

At one point during the proceedings, Miss Berry had offered to serve as the representative for the commission during court hearings. Her request was denied, according to court documents, "given that the chair was the ultimate decision maker in the complaint."

The decision, handed down in April but only made public yesterday, asserts that Miss Monroig - despite a performance evaluation in 1995 that rated her "fully successful" - was unfairly demoted. …