The U.S. Comptroller General has accepted a ruling that the General Accounting Office promotion system used to discriminate against black employes.
The ruling came in reponse to a complaint filed in 1980 by Julian McKensey Fogle, a GS 13 black supervisory auditor in the GAO's San Francisco regional office. Fogle initially accused the GAO of system-wide discrimination against blacks in everything from hiring and training to promotions, awards and transfers. But as the case progressed, it centered exclusively on the Competitive Selection Process that the GAO used from 1976 until June of last year.
On Tuesday, Comptroller Charles A. Bowsher said he had accepted most of the finding of discrimination in GAO promotions that a hearing examiner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had made.
The examiner, Chester F. Relyea, found "that GAO discriminated intentionally and unlawfully against black evaluators because of their race." He ordered the GAO to award back pay, promotions and attorneys' fees to black employes in the affected "class" or group, essentially those who worked there between 1978 and 1983 as evaluators or at the GS 12 to 14 salary levels.
Relyea also ordered that the GAO's new promotion system be evaluated to see if it discriminates against blacks.
Bowsher said that although he disagreed with some of Relyea's conclusions he was reluctantly accepting the finding of bias. He explained, "It is time that this one remaining aspect of the case the promotion issue should be placed behind us and that the agency should get on about its business."
Kerry Alan Scanlon of the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represented the plaintiffs, said the ruling will affect about 250 black professionals. Future litigation will determine damages and attorneys' fees, as well as promotions.