A white federal employee who charged that he was denied promotion for 10 years because of reverse discrimination was promoted by his superiors Thursday after a judge threatened to use federal marshals to ensure the promotion.
Officials in the regional office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development expressed dismay over the judicial order and said they were considering whether to appeal.
U.S. District Judge Robert Vining ordered the department Wednesday to promote Charles Mayson to be director of the agency’s regional compliance division.
Two Findings of Bias
The order resulted from a suit in which Mayson asked the court to force HUD compliance with two findings by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Mayson, who is white, was a victim of racial discrimination.
Judge Vining accused HUD officials of stalling and told them to promote Mayson by 9 a.m. on Thursday or face federal marshals.
The agency complied before the deadline, but top officials of the agency huddled with their lawyers to consider what to do next.
One decision was to issue a statement saying: “We are most surprised by the judge’s language . . . and, in our opinion, there is no basis for the judge’s comments and action.”
Kenneth E. Williams, acting deputy regional administrator of the agency, said that the incident was embarrassing but added that he did not think it would affect public confidence in the agency.
“I’m not significantly worried about that. People who have a real interest will know that no large organization is without an employee who says something is wrong.”
Williams insisted the agency has not discriminated against Mayson.
Mayson filed his original EEOC complaint after being denied a promotion in 1975.
The EEOC ruled in his favor in 1980 and again in 1984, when the agency ordered him promoted to the “same or similar job” that he was seeking.
In ordering the promotion Wednesday, Vining said that HUD’s refusal to promote Mayson was a “flagrant . . . willful and callous” disregard of EEOC orders and added that, if it were up to him, he would fire the HUD officials who were responsible.