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Home / Complaints / Final Orders / Final Orders 2009 / FCHR Order No. 09-035

FCHR Order No. 09-035

Date of Release: 04/13/2009

STATE OF FLORIDA

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS

DAFNEY L. COOK

EEOC Case No. 15D200800802

Petitioner

 

v.

FCHR Case No. 2008-02141

   

CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA

DOAH Case No. 08-4983

Respondent

FCHR Order No. 09-035

   

FINAL ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR

RELIEF FROM AN UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE

Preliminary Matters

Petitioner Dafney L. Cook filed a complaint of discrimination pursuant to the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, Sections 760.01 - 760.11, Florida Statutes (2007), alleging that Respondent Corrections Corporation of America committed unlawful employment practices on the bases of Petitioner’s race (Black) and sex (female) by subjecting Petitioner to different terms and conditions of employment, harassment, unfair discipline and termination; by subjecting Petitioner to sexual harassment; and by retaliating against Petitioner for having filed a grievance.

The allegations set forth in the complaint were investigated, and, on August 14, 2008, the Executive Director issued his “Determination: Adverse Inference Cause” finding that there was reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful employment practice had occurred.

Petitioner filed a Petition for Relief from an Unlawful Employment Practice, and the case was transmitted to the Division of Administrative Hearings for the conduct of a formal proceeding.

An evidentiary hearing was held by video teleconference on December 17, 2008, at sites in Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Florida, before Administrative Law Judge Suzanne F. Hood.

Judge Hood issued a Recommended Order of dismissal, dated February 9, 2009.

Pursuant to notice, public deliberations were held on April 9, 2009, by means of Communications Media Technology (namely, telephone) before this panel of Commissioners. The public access point for these telephonic deliberations was the Office of the Florida Commission on Human Relations, 2009 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 200, Tallahassee, Florida, 32301. At these deliberations, the Commission panel determined the action to be taken on the Recommended Order.

FCHR Order No. 09-035

Page 2

Findings of Fact

We find the Administrative Law Judge’s findings of fact to be supported by competent substantial evidence.

We adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s findings of fact.

Conclusions of Law

We find the Administrative Law Judge’s application of the law to the facts to result in a correct disposition of the matter.

We adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s conclusions of law.

Exceptions

Petitioner filed exceptions to the Recommended Order in a document received by the Commission on February 23, 2009. The document contains five numbered exceptions.

With regard to exceptions to Recommended Orders, the Administrative Procedure Act states, “The final order shall include an explicit ruling on each exception, but an agency need not rule on an exception that does not clearly identify the disputed portion of the recommended order by page number or paragraph, that does not identify the legal basis for the exception, or that does not include appropriate and specific citations to the record.” Section 120.57(1)(k), Florida Statutes (2007); see, also, Bartolone v. Best Western Hotels, FCHR Order No. 07-045 (August 24, 2007).

A review of Petitioner’s exceptions document suggests that it does not comply with this statutory provision.

Nevertheless, it can be said that each numbered exception in the document generally excepts to facts found, facts not found, and / or inferences drawn from the evidence presented.

The Commission has stated, “It is well settled that it is the Administrative Law Judge’s function ‘to consider all of the evidence presented and reach ultimate conclusions of fact based on competent substantial evidence by resolving conflicts, judging the credibility of witnesses and drawing permissible inferences therefrom. If the evidence presented supports two inconsistent findings, it is the Administrative Law Judge’s role to decide between them.’ Beckton v. Department of Children and Family Services, 21 F.A.L.R. 1735, at 1736 (FCHR 1998), citing Maggio v. Martin Marietta Aerospace, 9 F.A.L.R. 2168, at 2171 (FCHR 1986).” Barr v. Columbia Ocala Regional Medical Center, 22 F.A.L.R. 1729, at 1730 (FCHR 1999). Accord, Bowles v. Jackson County Hospital Corporation, FCHR Order No. 05-135 (December 6, 2005).

Petitioner’s exceptions are rejected.

FCHR Order No. 09-035

Page 3

Dismissal

The Petition for Relief and Complaint of Discrimination are DISMISSED with prejudice.

The parties have the right to seek judicial review of this Order. The Commission and the appropriate District Court of Appeal must receive notice of appeal within 30 days of the date this Order is filed with the Clerk of the Commission. Explanation of the right to appeal is found in Section 120.68, Florida Statutes, and in the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.110.

DONE AND ORDERED this 13th day of April , 2009.

FOR THE FLORIDA COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS:

Commissioner Donna Elam, Panel Chairperson;

Commissioner Elena Flom; and

Commissioner Billy Whitefox Stall

Filed this 13th day of April , 2009,

in Tallahassee, Florida.

________________________________

Violet Crawford, Clerk

Commission on Human Relations

2009 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 200

Tallahassee, FL 32301

(850) 488-7082

NOTICE TO COMPLAINANT / PETITIONER

As your complaint was filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you have the right to request EEOC to review this Commission’s final agency action. To secure a “substantial weight review” by EEOC, you must request it in writing within 15 days of your receipt of this Order. Send your request to Miami District Office (EEOC), One Biscayne Tower, 2 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 2700, 27th Floor, Miami, FL 33131.

FCHR Order No. 09-035

Page 4

Copies furnished to:

Dafney L. Cook

2936 Eden Street

Jacksonville, FL 32254

Corrections Corporation of America

c/o Chelsie J. Roberts, Esq.

Ford & Harrison, LLP

300 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1300

Orlando, FL 32801

Suzanne F. Hood, Administrative Law Judge, DOAH

James Mallue, Legal Advisor for Commission Panel

I HEREBY CERTIFY that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed to the above listed addressees this 13th day of April , 2009.

By: _______________________________

Clerk of the Commission

Florida Commission on Human Relations