Court grants Homeland Security summary judgment on employment termination case

By Gabriel Neves | Dec 27, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- A former FEMA employee who claimed her termination was discriminatory suffered a loss on appeal as a summary judgment was granted.

Judge Gerald Pappert, on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, issued a 12-page ruling on Dec. 18 granting the motion in the lawsuit filed by Priscilla Giuseffi against U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.

The court granted the motion filed by Nielsen, claiming Giuseffi produced no evidence of the discrimination when being terminated from her employment. Giuseffi sued the secretary on grounds that she was fired from her government job because she was discriminated by the agency after filing an EEO complaint.

As stated in the ruling, "Giuseffi began working for FEMA on Mar. 22, 1993," being employed "as a disaster reservist in Region V until October 6, 2010, when she was fired by the agency." Her supervisor at the time, Individual Assistance Branch Chief for FEMA Region V Colleen Finkl, terminated Giuseffi because she did not accept any deployments.

Right after the incident, and after unsuccessfully appealing of her termination to the FEMA director, Giuseffi filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Over a year later, Giuseffi applied for a Grants Management Specialist position in Philadelphia. During the process, she submitted several materials, but never mentioned the termination that took place in Chicago, where her previous FEMA job was located.

Also stated in the ruling, "after Giuseffi accepted the Philadelphia job offer but before she started work,

Region III officials learned that she had been fired from her previous position, leading them to rescind Giuseffi’s job offer."

In his ruling, Pappert, in addition to Giuseffi's lack of evidence, stated that "Giuseffi again fails to show

that her filing of an EEO action after being fired by Region V played any role in Region III’s decision to rescind her job offer."

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 18-00622.

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