Tommy Robinson a 60 year old black male employee of the Food
Tommy Robinson, a 60-year-old black male employee of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, alleged that the department discriminated against him on account of his age, sex, and race, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when it refused to promote him to the position of customer safety officer. The district court concluded that the complaint failed to state a claim for relief and dismissed it because Robinson failed to contact an equal employment opportunity (EEO) counselor and complain about the alleged discrimination. Federal- sector employees, such as Robinson, who believe that they have been subject to discrimination must initiate contact with an EEO counselor within 45 days of the effective date of the personnel action. An agency, however, "shall extend the 45-day time limit in paragraph (a)(1) of this section when the individual shows that . . . he or she did not know and reason- ably should not have known that the discriminatory matter or personnel action occur red." In an attempt to get around the limitations bar, Robinson made two arguments: First, he said that he did not learn of the unlawful discrimination until November 15, 2001; second, he said that he did not learn that the person who obtained the position was white until sometime after he fi led his grievance with the union on October 16, 2001. Robinson failed to make either argument to the district court. On appeal, he argued that the court of appeals should extend the 45-day time limit. How did the court of appeals rule? Why?
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