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Department of Justice Opposes Finding of Racial Discrimination against BOP

Donald Ernest Thompson, who is black, was a correctional supervisor (GS-11 Lieutenant) at FCI Englewood in Littleton, Colorado when he was made Disturbance Control Team Leader. Two white members of the team objected to his appointment, claiming he had previously suffered a heart attack and had poor communication skills. His supervisor told him to present documentation from a doctor that he had no health issues that would prevent him from performing his duties. Soon thereafter, he was informed that he was the subject of two investigations – one for inattention to duties and one for failure to follow procedures.

Thompson had previously complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He believed the investigations were in retaliation for that EEO activity and, on May 30, 1995, filed a complaint alleging racial discrimination, disability discrimination (for his heart condition), and retaliation.

On October 25, 2000, an administrative judge found retaliation and racial discrimination, but no disability discrimination, ordering the BOP to pay Thompson $20,000 and attorney fees of $39,944.46. The Department of Justice's Complaint Adjudication Office (CAO) notified Thompson and the BOP that it agreed with the findings of retaliation for EEO activity but disagreed with the finding of racial discrimination. In its opinion, Thompson should not have been awarded so much in attorney fees as he did not prevail on one claim (disability discrimination) and should not have prevailed on the racial discrimination claim.

On January 25, 2001, the CAO provided the BOP a lengthy memorandum to support its position and authorized the BOP to appeal the racial discrimination determination. See: Thompson v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 320-99-8363X (EEOC 2000).

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Related legal case

Thompson v. Federal Bureau of Prisons