A U.S. District judge found yesterday that Delbert Jackson, now the director of the D.C. Department of Corrections, and three department supervisors made "improper" sexual advances to a female employe. But the judge dismissed the woman's contention that she was denied job promotions because she rejected the advances.
In an 11-page opinion, Judge George L. Hart Jr. said that the woman's superiors "appeared to consider the making of sexual advances to female employes as standard operating procedure, a fact of life, a normal condition of employment in the office."
To the supervisors, "it was a game . . . you won some and you lost some. It was not a matter to be taken seriously," Hart wrote in his opinion.
The woman Sandra G. Bundy, eventually was promoted to GS-9 in June 1976, after she filed a formal complaint with the Department of Corrections and the city's Human Rights office alleging sex discrimination, Hart said.
In his opinion, Hart, noted that Bundy was promoted by Jackson over the objections of another supervisor. It may be inferred, Hart wrote, that Jackson gave Bundy the job "primarily because of the formal complaint" and "to avoid any adverse publicity in the matter."
Bundy, 45, a vocational rehabilitation specialist with the corrections department, filed suit against the department in August 1977 contending that promotions had been delayed and denied her specifically because she had refused sexual advances. Her suit asked immediate promotion to the grade of GS-11, back pay and additional damages.
Arthur D. Chotin, an attorney who represented Bundy, said that during hearings before Hart, distinctions were made between what a female employe would consider a social invitation, such as a lunch or dinner, and an "improper" advance, such as an offer to visit a male supervisor's apartment.
During a three-day trial before Hart last month, Jackson and two of the tother men denied all of Bundy's allegations, according to assistant D.C. Corporation Counsel Alexandra Keith. The fourth supervisor, who no longer works for the corrections department, did not appear at the trial, Keith said.
None of the men could be reached last night for comment.
While Hart ruled that Bundy's allegations of "improper sexual advances" were "fully proved," he found that her prompt rejections of the advances did not result in harassment or denial of promotions.
"such things were just not taken seriously in the office in which she worked by her superiors," Hart said.
Hart found that Bundy's earlier promotion was delayed because of her "work performance." The second promotion was denied because Bundy did not qualify for further job advancement, Hart said.
"it does not even appear that [Bundy] herself took such actions as serious-annoying, perhaps, but not serious," Hart said. The evidence in the case inferred, Hart said, that Bundy filed her formal complaints "primarily as a means of obtaining [job] advancement.
According to Hart's opinion, the sexual advances began in May 1972 with several telephone calls made by Jackson, then superintendent of Lorton Reformatory to Bundy's home.
In addition to Jackson, Hart found that similar advances were made up until May 1975 by C. Lawrence Swain, then dircetor of community services for the department, and by James Gainey and Arthur Burton, two supervisors in Bundy's office. Burton left the Department of Corrections in 1976.
Although Bundy's discrimination complaint was dismissed, Chotin said the court decision was "nevertheless a victory because it vindicated [Bundy] in what she's been saying for the past five years . . . "