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Library Settles Lawsuit for $230K

Under a settlement agreement approved by a federal court Thursday, the Library of Congress will pay $230,000 to a female employee who asserts she faced discrimination based on her gender.

The agreement directs the Library to pay Nancy Lee Jones, an employee in the Congressional Research Service’s American Law Division, $45,486 in back pay and an additional $63,878.67 in noneconomic compensatory damages.

The remaining fees will be allotted to attorneys representing Jones in her federal lawsuit as well as in an earlier administrative hearing. Jones will also receive about $17,100 as a reimbursement for fees she paid during that administrative hearing.

Under the agreement, the Library, represented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, does not admit liability. “This stipulation of settlement … is entered into by both parties for the sole purpose of compromising disputed claims and avoiding the expenses and risks of further litigation,” the settlement states.

Jones filed the lawsuit against the Library in August 2002, asserting that a less-qualified male applicant was selected for a position in the LOC’s Law Library for which she had also applied in 1998.

According to court documents, Law Librarian Rubens Medina interviewed Jones, in addition to five other candidates, for the director of legal research post in March 1999.

“During the course of the interview with Plaintiff, Dr. Medina noted that the position required a significant amount of travel and observed that Ms. Jones had a young child,” the documents state. “Dr. Medina also inquired about her ability to work with people from different cultures who might not have a tradition of equal opportunity for women.”

Medina subsequently selected a male applicant, one of two who applied for the post.

Jones’ attorney, Bruce Fredrickson, described the settlement as a “fair and just result,” but suggested the five-year period required to resolve the discrimination complaint — which included a previous administrative hearing through the Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints Office — was excessive.

“The outcome is fair and just, but the time it took to accomplish that end is more than it should have been,” Fredrickson said.

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