Library Settles Suit For $21K

Posted February 6, 2004 at 4:05pm

The Library of Congress agreed last month to pay $21,000, without admitting any guilt, to settle a discrimination suit brought in June 2002 by a 50-year-old disabled black veteran.

The complaint, filed by William White in U.S. District Court, alleged the Library had revoked an offer of employment made in May 2000 “based on discrimination as to race, age, sex and disability.”

Under the terms of the settlement agreed to by attorneys, White will be paid a $21,000 lump sum, pending approval by Judge Richard Roberts.

However, White’s attorney, Christina Carroll, last week filed a motion for extension of time, which allows the plaintiff a 30-day window to file an amended complaint if the judge does not sign the agreement.

“We are just doing that to be ultra-safe,” said Carroll. “I have no reason to think that the government is not going to pay.”

A spokeswoman for the Library said in a statement that the “agreement with Mr. White does not constitute an admission of liability or fault on the part of either party. The sole purpose of the agreement is to reach a compromise on disputed claims and avoid the expense and risks of further litigation.”

White, who had applied for a job as a sales counter attendant, was told on May 18, 2000 to report for duty assignment May 22. The following day, he was told not to report for duty, with no reason given, according his complaint.

In the complaint, White took issue with a subsequent Library Equal Employment Opportunity report which said the withdrawal of employment was due to his alleged failure “to state in his employment application the fact that he had been terminated from other positions.”

“In fact plaintiff had put all of this information on his employment application, and did have conversation about his terminations in the interview,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff is aware that there is not a requirement that a person never be terminated from a position in order to be hired.”

On March 12, 2002, the EEO rejected his complaint, and White filed suit three months later.

As part of his complaint, White requested the Library hire him in an equivalent position, “with back pay and any and all incentives, pay raises, bonuses, etc.” He had also sought $650,000 for “remarks made by defendants in these matters pertaining to his honesty and integrity.”

White, a Vietnam War-era Army veteran, suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome.