Lucas V Dole

Topics: Discrimination, Racism, Prima facie Pages: 5 (659 words) Published: April 5, 2012
Lucas v. Dole 1

Running Head: LUCAS v. DOLE

Case Analysis: Lucas v. Dole

Lucas v. Dole 2

Case Analysis: Lucas v. Dole


In the Fall of 1987, plaintiff Julia Lucas appeals the dismissal of her job

discrimination suit. Lucas, a white woman, argues that she was the victim of reverse

discrimination when Rosa Wright, a less qualified black woman, was promoted to the

Quality Assurance and Training Specialist position at her job. The judge dismissed the

claim, finding that Lucas did not make out a prima facie case (Open Jurist, 2011).

Statement of the Problem

Both Julia Lucas, a white woman, and Rosa Wright, a black woman, work for the

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They both applied for Quality Assurance and

Training Specialist (QATS) positions at the Flight Service Station in Leesburg, Virginia.

Both women, along with nineteen other applicants, were qualified for the two positions

that were available. Edward Dietz, the official who interviewed the top four applicants,

selected Rosa Wright and another woman named Sharon Hall as the best candidates to fill

the positions. Edward Dietz did not consider Julia Lucas. Lucas believed she was reverse

discriminated and took the case to court (Open Jurist, 2011).

Findings of Fact

It was verified that although FAA determined that all nineteen applicants were

qualified, Wright did not have a current Pilot Weather Briefing Certificate at the time of

her selection, a QATS job requirement. Lucas presented other evidence in order to show

discrimination. She testified to the subjective nature of the interviewing process, which

consisted of five general questions concerning the QATS position. She presented Lucas v. Dole 3

evidence that her answers were detailed and job specific, while Wright's were broad and

could apply to many jobs. Evidence also showed that in July 1985, Wright was given a

temporary position involving education and training of students learning about the air

traffic control system. The temporary position was not advertised to other workers in the

customary way, and Wright was selected before some workers knew of the opening. Five

other employees also testified that race may have been a factor in the selection of Wright

and in other situations at the Leesburg facility. Favoritism there had helped create poor

labor-management relations, although it is not clear whether the favoritism was racially

motivated. The last piece of evidentiary support Lucas had was the comparison of her

own professional experience and qualifications with those of Wright (Open Jurist, 2011).

Impact in the Workplace

“Reverse discrimination is a controversial form of discrimination against members of a

dominant or majority group, including the city or state, or in favor of members of a

minority or historically disadvantaged group” (Wikipedia, 2011). Whether discrimination

is reversed or not,


The judge dismissed the case, finding that Julia Lucas did not make out a prima

facie case. In other words, it was not “based on the first impression; nor was it accepted

as correct until proven otherwise” (Wikipedia, 2011). A prima facie case of unequal

treatment by direct or indirect evidence of discrimination is under the McDonnell

Douglas framework. To establish a prima facie case under the McDonnell Douglas

framework, a plaintiff must show (1) she is a member of a protected group; (2) she

applied and was qualified for a job that was open; (3) she was rejected, and (4) the job

remained vacant. Lucas satisfies the basic requirements of McDonnell Douglas, except

that the job did not remain open. In her testimony, Lucas admitted that she scored in the

bottom third among the interviewees, and that those above her included blacks, whites

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