By Michael Mitchell

Can the Central Intelligence Agency Be Held Liable for Discrimination in Hiring Decisions when the Plaintiff Has Exhausted His Administrative Options?

In Doe v. Brennan, the Fourth Circuit considered whether the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) was reasonable in an employment discrimination claim.

CIA Allegedly Refuses to Hire Based on Disability

John Doe brought suit against the CIA after his conditional offer of employment was rejected and he was not allowed to reapply for employment with the agency.  Doe alleged that the CIA discriminated against him based on a disability, Diabetes, Type I, in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which was later amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in 2014.  The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the CIA primarily because the plaintiff failed to exhaust his remedies as well as “fail[ing] to establish an adverse employment action.”

No Genuine Issue of Material Fact

Summary judgment is only appropriate when “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact . . . and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”  In order to determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, the court reasonably considers the facts of the case “in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”

No Reversible Error

In an unpublished per curiam decision under de novo review, the court found that there was no reversible error, as the plaintiff alleged in his complaint.  Summary judgment was appropriate in this case because there was no genuine issue of material fact, and therefore, the CIA was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Fourth Circuit Affirmed Summary Judgment for CIA

The Fourth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the CIA, rejecting the Plaintiff’s employment discrimination claim.  After considering the standard for summary judgment, the court found that “there [wa]s no genuine issue as to any material fact.”

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