A U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled yesterday that World Bank employes, like those of other international organizations, do not have the right to sue in federal courts here over employment-related disputes.
The panel issued its ruling in a suit filed by former World Bank researcher Susana Mendaro, an Argentine citizen who lives in Northwest Washington. Mendaro, who worked for the bank from 1977 to 1979, contended she was the victim of a pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination by other bank employes. The panel said Mendaro complained to the bank about the problem and after her complaints was informed she would be terminated.
A U.S. District Court dismissed the complaint and the panel decision, written by Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey, upheld that ruling. Wilkey said that although the bank's charter contains a broad waiver of immunity from lawsuits, that waiver did not include "internal" employment disputes but was intended to be a waiver of immunity for "external" or commercial matters.
As a result the bank, with a staff of nearly 6,000 employes--a majority of whom work in Washington--must enjoy the same immunity from civil rights suits as afforded many international organizations in this country, such as the Organization of American States, the panel said.
Mendaro's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said yesterday that no decision had been made on whether to appeal the ruling. Mendaro is now a real estate consultant, Gorelick said.