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Trask v. Sec'y, Dep't of Veterans Affairs

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

April 5, 2016, Decided

No. 15-11709

Opinion

 [*1184]  HULL, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiffs Donna Trask and Anita Truitt (the "plaintiffs") appeal the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") in their employment discrimination action brought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (the "ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 626. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the district court erred by making improper fact determinations and incorrectly applying the relevant law. After review, and with the benefit of oral argument, we affirm.2

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND FACTS

In this case the plaintiffs sued their employer, the VA, for gender and age discrimination. The plaintiffs are pharmacists who have worked at for the VA for over a decade. In 2010, the VA announced a nationwide treatment initiative that resulted in the reorganization of several VA treatment facilities, including the facility where the plaintiffs worked. This reorganization involved the creation of new pharmacist positions requiring an "advanced scope of practice," to be filled internally, and the elimination of certain pre-existing pharmacist positions, including the positions that the plaintiffs held.

The plaintiffs claim they were not selected to fill the new pharmacist positions due to their gender and age and were similarly denied opportunities to train and qualify  [*1185]  for those positions due to their gender [**3]  and age. The VA's non-selection of the plaintiffs for the new pharmacist positions, along with its reorganization and elimination of the plaintiffs' then-current positions, resulted in a reassignment of the plaintiffs' positions and job duties. The plaintiffs claim their reassignments resulted in losses of prestige and responsibility. The plaintiffs have suffered no decrease in pay and are still employed by the VA.

We recount below the plaintiffs' training and credentials, as well as their experience and performance as pharmacists. We then discuss the VA's creation and implementation of the treatment initiative that gave rise to the new pharmacist positions and discuss the objective qualifications required to fill those positions. Finally, we recount the plaintiffs' unsuccessful attempts to qualify for and fill the new pharmacist positions.

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822 F.3d 1179 *; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 6168 **; 128 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1849; 100 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P45,529; 26 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 220

DONNA TRASK, ANITA TRUITT, Plaintiffs-Appellants, versus SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, Defendant-Appellee.

Subsequent History: Petition for certiorari filed at, 10/13/2016

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 8:13-cv-00536-MSS-TBM.

Babb v. McDonald, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169401 (M.D. Fla., Dec. 8, 2014)

Disposition: AFFIRMED.

CORE TERMS

pharmacist, positions, module, plaintiffs', training, pharmacy, reassignment, patient, medication, pilot program, scopes, prima facie case, clinical, disease, float, initiative, gender, fill, retaliation, prescribe, team, selections, provider, pool, hostile, adverse employment action, grant summary judgment, district court, primary care, recommendations

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Labor & Employment Law, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Burden Shifting, Age Discrimination, Burdens of Proof, Employee Burdens, Gender & Sex Discrimination, Employment Practices, Failures to Hire, Discriminatory Employment Practices, Discharges & Failures to Hire, Retaliation, Statutory Application, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Discrimination, Elements, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Elements, Adverse Employment Actions, Causation, Sexual Harassment, Employee Burdens of Proof, Harassment, Hostile Work Environment, Standards of Proof, Pervasive & Severe Standards, Business & Corporate Compliance, Labor & Employment Law, Harassment, Scope & Definitions