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Federal Civilan Employee's Title VII Suit Dismissed As the Position is Military in Nature

By FindLaw Staff on July 21, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Bowers v. Wynne, 09-3566, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the complaint in a federal civilian employee's suit against the Secretary of the Air Force, claiming gender and disability discrimination as well as retaliatory termination. 

In affirmin the dismissal, the court held that the plaintiff's claim may not be brought because they arise from her position as an Air Force Reserve Technician (ART).  The court held that the district court did not err in concluding that the court's precedent in Fisher and Leistiko, which held that the National Guard technician position is irreducibly military in nature, also applies to ARTs.  Thus, the court is not convinced that the ART position is materially different from the position of National Guard technician such that ARTs could pursue remedies under Title VII or the Rehabilitation Act that are not available to National Guard technicians.  The court further held that, even if the court were to adopt the approach used in other circuits, plaintiff's claims would be barred because they challenge the conduct of supervisory military officers of superior rank, and thereby threaten intrusion into officer-subordinate relationships.

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