A black woman won a $43,592-a-year civil service job yesterday as the result of a U.S. District Court judgment that she had been a vicitim of discrimination at the hands of the Civil Service Commission.
Peggy Griffiths, an attorney and longtime government employee, next week will assume the pose of chairman of the Civil Service Commission's appeals review board, the highest administrative tribunal to which federal employees can take their merit systme or "pocket-book related" appeals for judgment.
Under the terms of a consent agreement approved yesterday by U.S. District Judge William B. Bryant, Griffiths also will receive $4,797.84 in back pay.
Griffiths has been a member of the appeals review body since 1968. During that time, according to her attorney, she "had earned a reputation for making rulings favorable to employees" and for being antimanagement on a board that many employees considered a rubber stamp of management.
She had contended in her lawsuit that she was denied promotion in 1974 to deputy chairman and later to chairman of the review board on the basis of racial and sexual discrimination, and as a reprisal for her anti-management" voting record, her attorney said.
Griffiths said, after the agreement yesterday, that she hope "this resolution will permit me to help the federal government become a true equal employment opportunity employer for all government workers."
The Civil Service Commission's own equal employment opportunity officer earlier had issued a final decision that discrimination had indeed been a factor in her nonselection for promotion.
This led to her motion for a partial summary judgment from the court, which the court granted, in essence affirming the agency's finding of discrimination. (The court did not make a judgment as to whether would have recieved the promotion "but for the discrimination.")
Griffiths' new post is at the GS-16 level. She will become eligible for a promotion within that grade again in February.
The agreement also provides that "no government official" shall harass or retaliate against Griffiths on account of her court action or for "any other reason."
Roderic Boggs, director of the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and one of the attorneys who worked on Griffiths' case, described this as the most significant Title VII case we have been involved with."
A spokesman for the Civil Service Commission said that the post involved is the highest ranking one won through court action at the agency.
Griffiths, a graduate of Howard University, has experience at several federal agencies over a period of 18 years. She also has been a teacher and an attorney in private practice. She is a widow and the mother of six children.