Digest of ICRC Final Decisions: July 1, 1989 to June 30, 1990

Dianne Humburd v. Mary A. Harlan and Virgil G. Harlan:

Complainant, a Black female seeking child care services, alleged that Respondents denied her child care services because of her race. A default judgment was entered against Virgil G. Harlan who failed to appear. Mary A. Harlan was found to have acquiesced in her husband's (Virgil) statement, made to Ms. Humburd, that there would be no mixing of the races at Ms. Harlan's child care business. Ms. Humburd was awarded $4,400 against Respondents for emotional distress. She was also awarded $2,640 in special compensatory damages as back pay resulting from the loss of a job she had to relinquish because she had been denied child care services. Interest on these amounts, at the rate of 10% per annum, was also awarded. In a subsequent supplemental decision, the Commission awarded Ms. Humburd an additional $1,833.50 for attorneys fees. No appeal to district court was taken from these decisions. To date, no enforcement action has been filed.

Ann M. Redies v. Bumper-to-Bumper and Fauser Oil Company, Inc,:

Complainant Ann M. Redies, a female cashier-clerk at an auto parts and convenience store, alleged that she was denied promotion to the position of Assistant Manager because of her sex. During the course of the hearing, the issues of whether Complainant Redies was denied equal pay and constructively discharged were also tried. After considering the evidence, which included statements by the Manager to female employees to the effect that Respondents needed a man as Assistant Manager, Respondents were found to have failed to promote Complainant Redies because of her sex. No discrimination was found in regard to the issues of equal pay and constructive discharge. In the proposed decision, Ms. Redies was awarded $342.50 in back pay and $750 in compensatory damages for emotional distress. The case was settled prior to the Commission meeting at which the proposed decision would have been considered.

Hoa Thi Blood v. Hy-Vee Food Stores:

In a prior decision, the Commission had found that complainant, a female of Vietnamese national origin, had been discriminated against in promotion and assignment of working hours on the basis of her sex and national origin. The case was remanded to the Commission for consideration of the issue of whether the complaint was timely filed, i.e. was it filed within one hundred and eighty days of the last date of the discriminatory act or practice? On remand, the Commission found that the complaint was timely in respect to national origin discrimination in the assignment of working hours and denial of promotion. In making this finding, the Commission relied on the "continuing violation" theory. The discrimination in working hours and promotion were each of a continuing nature as each set of practices constituted a series of related acts, the last of which occurred within the statutory time period of one hundred eighty days. The practice of sex discrimination in promoting was also found to be timely under the continuing violation theory. This discrimination consisted of the continued maintenance of a discriminatory policy or system into the limitations period. The Commission's decision was upheld by the District Court and affirmed by an Iowa Supreme Court decision which adopted the Commission's findings and rationale.

Robert E. Swanson v. Lee Dahl Motors:

Complainant Robert E. Swanson alleged that Lee Dahl Motors failed to hire him for the position of sales representative because of his age. His complaint was amended to allege retaliation which was an issue tried at the hearing. After considering evidence, which included (a) an advertisement setting forth an age preference for applicants between the ages of 21 and 35 inclusive, and (b) the Respondent's admission that one reason it did not like Complainant Swanson was because of his letters to Respondent opposing the discriminatory advertisement, Lee Dahl Motors was found to have committed age discrimination in employment and retaliation. In the proposed decision, Complainant was awarded the amount of $47,293.92 in back pay and benefits and $2,500 in damages for emotional distress. The case was settled prior to the commission meeting at which the proposed decision would have been considered.

Stephanie Juehring v. Scott County Civil Service Commission:

In this case of alleged sex discrimination, the Assistant Attorney General for the Commission filed a motion for dismissal indicating that Complainant Stephanie Juehring had withdrawn the underlying charge of discrimination. Since the motion was not joined by Complainant and a copy of the withdrawal was not provided to the Administrative Law Judge, Complainant Juehring and all other parties to the case were given an opportunity for hearing on the motion. The Complainant did not take advantage of this opportunity. In light of Complainant's failure to resist dismissal, the Assistant Attorney General's statement that complainant had withdrawn the charge, and the Commission's broad discretion to determine whether it wishes to continue prosecution of a case, the motion to dismiss was granted.

Michael Biggles (Lovelady) v. Black Hawk County Health Center and Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors:

Complainant Michael Biggles alleged that Respondents failed to hire him for the position of Nurse Aid on the basis that he was perceived to be disabled due to a prior back injury. Respondents admitted that Complainant Biggles was rejected because of a rule barring employment of persons with prior back injury or surgery in the Nurse Aid and other positions, but asserted that this rejection was justified based on the nature of the occupation. An examination of the evidence revealed that there was no "medical expert testimony demonstrating any specific probability of risk of future injury or any medical reports demonstrating a substantial linkage between prior back injury and surgery and any risk of future injuries to Nurse Aides." Nor was there any evidence that the disqualification was based on medical advice or any showing of a reduction of injuries based on the rule. The available medical evidence was to the contrary, i. e. the Respondent's physician's report approved of Complainant Biggle's spinal flexibility and heavy lifting ability.
Complainant Biggles was awarded $5,864.36 in back pay plus interest at the rate of 10% per annum. In addition to a cease and desist order, Respondents were required to send written notices to all past applicants disqualified for employment after October 6, 1985 under the back injury rule, to issue a press release with similar content, to post equal employment opportunity posters, and indicate they were equal opportunity employers in all future job advertising. The Respondents complied with the Commission's final decision.

Rachel Helkenn v. EVCC Corporation d.b.a. Echo Valley Country Club and Racoon Valley Investment Company:

Complainant Rachel Helkenn alleged that the Respondents discharged her from the position of waitress because of her age. There was both direct and circumstantial evidence of age discrimination. The direct evidence included statements by management officials to the effect that unsatisfactory employees could be replaced by college students and that management preferred employees in the 19 to 25 age group. In the proposed decision, Complainant Helkenn was awarded $9,225.52 in back pay and $1,000 in damages for emotional distress. Interest on these amounts, at the rate of 10% per annum, was also awarded. The case was settled, prior to the Commission meeting at which the proposed decision would have been considered, for $8,000 in back wages and $2,000 in other compensatory damages.

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