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Eglin Employee Gets Promotion, $90,000, After Bias Suit

September 4, 1985

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) _ A black employee who smuggled out a racial discrimination list in her pantyhose for use in a bias suit against Eglin Air Force Base will get a promotion and may receive $90,000 to compensate for harassment.

The suit had been settled in 1981, with the Air Force paying $2.6 million to black employees and job applicants and agreeing to hire and promote more blacks. An additional $660,000 was added earlier this year for non-civil service workers.

U.S. District Judge Winston Arnow last Friday approved an additional settlement for Linda Miller after Special Master Harold Crosby found that the base, near Fort Walton Beach, retaliated against her for instigating the original suit.

She was denied a promotion, singled out for monitoring by supervisors and denied an interview with Air Force Systems Command investigators, Crosby determined.

Miller has been on indefinite sick leave from her $41,000-a-year job as a contract negotiator. She claimed the harassment caused her to live in fear and humiliation and drove her to a psychiatrist, who has said she is unlikely to improve enough ever to return to a full-time job.

The settlement calls for her to be promoted one step, adding $5,000 to her salary, and for her to apply for workers’ compensation. If compensation is approved, the Air Force would pay her $90,000.

″I’m happy that it’s over,″ Miller said. ″I’m very relieved. I’m not a vindictive person, so I can’t even say I’m glad.″

Her battle with the Air Force began in 1975 when she was an equal opportunity counselor. She said she learned that Eglin officials kept a list of black job applicants to guard against hiring them.

After secretly taking the list off the base, she turned it over to the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The NAACP the following year joined with the Progressive Community Involvement Organization and 20 civilian employees of Eglin to sue the base.

They charged that Eglin hired and promoted whites in preference to blacks, putting those blacks it did hire into low-paying, low-skill jobs and denying them training opportunities for advancement. They also charged blacks were the first let go when layoffs were ordered.

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