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Home / Complaints / Final Orders / Final Orders 2011 / FCHR Order No. 11-033

FCHR Order No. 11-033

Date of Release: 04/13/2011

STATE OF FLORIDA

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS

ZINA Y. JOHNSON

EEOC Case No. 15D200900656

Petitioner

 

v.

FCHR Case No. 2009-1889

   

WORKFORCE ESCAROSA, INC.

DOAH Case No. 10-0955

Respondent

FCHR Order No. 11-033

   

FINAL ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR

RELIEF FROM AN UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE

Preliminary Matters

Petitioner Zina Y. Johnson 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 Workforce Escarosa, Inc., committed unlawful employment practices on the basis of Petitioner’s race (African American) by unfairly disciplining and harassing Petitioner, and on the basis of retaliation, by terminating Petitioner for complaining about the alleged race discrimination.

The allegations set forth in the complaint were investigated, and, on December 9, 2009, the Executive Director issued his determination 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 in Pensacola, Florida, on November 16 and 17, 2010, before Administrative Law Judge Barbara J. Staros.

Judge Staros issued a Recommended Order of dismissal, dated January 28, 2011.

The Commission panel designated below considered the record of this matter and determined the action to be taken on the Recommended Order.

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.

FCHR Order No. 11-033

Page 2

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 Administrative Law Judge’s Recommended Order in a document entitled, “Exceptions to Recommended Order,” received by the Commission on or about February 11, 2011.

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 (2009); 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.

However, it can be said, generally, that Petitioner excepts to facts found, facts not found, and inferences drawn from the evidence presented, and to the Administrative Law Judge’s ultimate finding that no unlawful employment practice occurred in this matter.

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).

Further, it has been stated, “The ultimate question of the existence of discrimination is a question of fact.” Florida Department of Community Affairs v. Bryant, 586 So. 2d 1205, at 1209 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). Accord, Coley v. Bay County Board of County Commissioners, FCHR Order No. 10-027 (March 17, 2010).

Noting that we have above found the facts as found by the Administrative Law Judge to be supported by competent substantial evidence and the Administrative Law Judge’s application of the law to the facts to result in a correct disposition of the matter, Petitioner’s exceptions are rejected.

FCHR Order No. 11-033

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 , 2011.

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 , 2011,

in Tallahassee, Florida.

______________/s/_______________

Violet Crawford, Clerk

Commission on Human Relations

2009 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 100

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. 11-033

Page 4

Copies furnished to:

Zina Y. Johnson

1365 A Pinnacle Drive

Pensacola, FL 32504

Workforce Escarosa, Inc.

c/o Erick M. Drlicka, Esq.

Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon

30 South Spring Street

Pensacola, FL 32502

Barbara J. Staros, 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 , 2011.

By: _________/s/__________________

Clerk of the Commission

Florida Commission on Human Relations