Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Double Standards for African American Female and Taxpayers Pay For Paramour Trip With Manager

On August 14, 2023, in the case of EEOC No: 570-2021-00652X, Maupin versus the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, EEOC Administrative Judge Oshia Banks approves double standards in the evaluation of African American Female and White Male Similar Situated Employee at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Inasmuch as the White Male Similar Situated Employee was held to a far lower standard and received a higher evaluation than the African American Female. In accordance with NRC procedures and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NRC and National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), each performance element evaluated must include a narrative that “clearly and explicitly justifies” the rating received. The Similar Situated White Male suggested that NRC attorneys call their Department of Energy Counterparts and drafted a page and a half letter that went through 18 revisions and NRC management deemed this as a 4 out of 4 rating of “Outstanding” which means the performance of rare and exceptional quality, with a very high quantity. The White Males actions were neither rare, exceptional quality nor of a very high quantity, yet he received a higher rating than the African American Female. The African American Female conducted three Congressional briefings on the hill, two public meetings, the 96-page technical basis for the disposal of highly radioactive waste containing Uranium-238 that was required by the Low-Level Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 and had been delayed for 35 years. Yet, the African American Female received a lower score of 3 out of 4 (an Excellent) for Analysis and Problem Solving while the Similar Situated White Male received a 4 out of 4 for a “suggestion” and “drafting a page and a half letter.” The Judge did not consider any of the Complainant’s rebuttal information, especially the NRC’s violation of its own procedures and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NRC and the NTEU in her findings.

In addition, by today’s decision, EEOC Judge Banks approved the use of taxpayers’ dollars for Manager, Stephen Koenick, to take his paramour, Nadine Aridi, on a business trip. In essence, the EEOC Judge denied the Complainant’s standing as not participating in a protected activity when she informed her manager of his inappropriate relationship in front of another employee because the Judge determined that Ms. Aridi was Mr. Koenick’s paramour. The Judge did not consider that Mr. Koenick became angry at the Complainant for raising concerns about his proposal to use taxpayers’ dollars to take his paramour on a business trip and that her raising of these concerns may have contributed to the lowering of her appraisal. Rather, Judge Banks thought it better to justify the use of taxpayer’s funds for Mr. Koenick to take his paramour on a business trip. As such, the Judge indicated that the Complainant had no standing relative to the EEO laws, yet she found it was better to render a decision with morass and ill fortitude. The NRC had established an environment where sexual involvement amongst peers and managers and subordinates— NRC’s Dating Service—is common practice. As such, the agency has a “quid pro quo” sexually harassing environment. Where those engaged in it benefit, and those who do not, or object to it are punished—the lowering of the Complainant’s appraisal. In an article, entitled, “The NRC dating service?” dated November 17, 2009, by HR MANAGEMENT, it provides, “It seems like everybody’s got a new idea for attracting new talent to the federal government these days. But Jim McDermott, chief human capital officer of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, thinks he’s found a foolproof way to convince young engineers to come to his agency: Find them dates. “There are incentives, and then there are incentives,” McDermott told a crowd of human resources officials at the HCMF Conference in Arlington, Va., earlier today. ‘When we’re hiring, we say, ‘Is there a significant other in the picture?’ If there’s no significant other, I tell them, ‘We can help.’” McDermott said his unorthodox recruitment pitch works because while nuclear engineers may know how to split atoms, they’re not quite so adept on the dating front: McDermott “Now, engineers study a lot in college,” McDermott said. “They neglect very important extracurricular activities. My girls went to school with engineers, [and]they said, ‘Dad, they don’t know how to dance, they don’t know how to dress, they don’t even know how to talk.’” Engineers may not necessarily become better dancers by taking a job at NRC, but McDermott said they can meet other single engineers (who probably won’t roll their eyes at Star Trek or lectures on reactor cooling systems). McDermott said NRC’s dating scheme — which he jokingly called “NRC Harmony,” after the eHarmony online dating service — has so far resulted in about eight or nine weddings. McDermott’s comments made me think of the sitcom Big Bang Theory, which features hopelessly nerdy theoretical physicists and their often-failed efforts to find romance. McDermott said he’s seen bits of the show, which hit close to home: “I thought I was watching something on the NRC.”
For years, the NRC has cultivated an environment of having a “Dating Service” or “NRC Harmony” as discussed in the article above. Not only was this condoned among peers but this has been going on among managers and subordinates as well. For example, the current NRC Region II Director, Laura Dudes, at some point started dating her manager, now file former NRC Executive Director of Operations (EDO), William Borchert, while he was still married. Did Laura’s relationship with her “Boss” provide benefits to her career at the NRC? Yes, it did. When did that relationship start? Would having a former NRC EDO as your significant other benefit your career at the NRC? The answer is absolutely. As such, the NRC has sustained a “quid pro quo” sexually hostile work environment where those who participate in this type of culture benefit and those who do not support this type of culture are penalized. Therefore, the Complainant was punished for not participating in this type of sexually harassing culture when she did not support her supervisor’s inappropriate conduct with the young administrative assistant, Nadine Arid, and the Complainant’s evaluation was lowered, especially as compared to the Similar Situated White Male Employee.