Digest of ICRC Decisions: July 1, 1991 - June 30, 1992

Orlando Ray Dial, Commissioner (and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission) v. Friedman Motorcars, Ltd., Mike Friedman, Tim Manning, Scott Henry, Pat Sullivan.
Cristen Harms (and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission) v. Friedman Motorcars Ltd., Mike Friedman, Gary Friedman, and Cheryl Ruble.
Mike DeVolder (and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission) v. Friedman Motorcars, Ltd., Mike Friedman, Scott Henry, and Pat Sullivan.

The above three cases were consolidated and heard in a five-day hearing. The first complaint, filed by ICRC Commissioner Orlando Ray Dial on behalf of the public, alleged that Respondents engaged in (1) discrimination in hiring for salesperson positions on the basis of race, sex, and disability; (2) the maintenance of a sexually and racially hostile work environment; and (3) discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of race. The second complaint, filed by Cristen Harms, alleged sexual harassment and constructive discharge. The third complaint, filed by Mike DeVolder, alleged (1) the maintenance of a sexually and racially hostile work environment, (2) verbal and physical abuse in retaliation for his lawful opposition to discrimination, and (3) retaliatory and discriminatory discharge. In a 171--page decision, the Commission held that all of the above allegations were proven with the exception of disability discrimination in employment.

Remedies included the payment of $22,706.69 in back pay to Complainant Harms, $2,500 in back pay to Complainant DeVolder and $15,000 in emotional distress damages to Complainant DeVolder. Non-monetary remedies included injunctive relief against widespread practices of race and sex discrimination in employment, race discrimination in public accommodations, and retaliation. Respondent was required to post notices informing employees and the public that equal employment opportunity and equal opportunity in public accommodations are the law. Equal employment opportunity notices are to be placed in Respondent's job advertising. Job Service of Iowa, a nondiscriminatory recruitment source, is to be notified of future job openings.

Respondents were ordered to completely revise their hiring practices for salesperson positions including the establishment of written job descriptions, written procedures for filling openings, filing of annual applicant flow reports with the Commission, and the maintenance of application files for the Commission's inspection.

Respondents' management personnel are required to study racial and sexual harassment, discrimination in hiring, and discrimination in public accommodations. Education on harassment, public accommodations discrimination, and appropriate grievance procedures for harassment complaints are to be given non-management employees.

The Commission also rejected what was, in effect, a motion by Respondents for disqualification of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on the grounds that being employed by the Commission either constituted an interest in the case, violated the Commission's rules on disqualification or otherwise violated due process. Respondents introduced no evidence and admitted they could cfte no legal authority supporting their propositions. After an extensive examination of the law of due process, judicial bias and interest, the motion was overruled by the ALJ. This action was upheld by the Commission. These cases are now on appeal in Polk County District Court.

Dorene Polton and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission v. Frank Roman and John Abeln.

Dorene Pofton alleged that Respondents, her landlord and apartment manager, (a) verbally indicated blacks were not welcome as renters, and (b) subjected her to harassment by threatening her with a shotgun, and by other means, because a black person was a regular visitor to the apartment. The question of whether she was constructively evicted (i.e. whether conditions were made so miserable for her by Respondents that she was forced to leave) due to having a black visitor was also litigated. The Commission found that both of her allegations and constructive eviction were all proven. Ms. Polton was awarded $10,000 for emotional distress and $1,760 for loss resulting from increased rental payments after she was constructively evicted from Respondents' apartments. Respondents were directed to cease their discriminatory activity. They were also ordered to post Fair Housing Opportunity posters; to include the phrase "Equal Housing Opportunfty" in their advertising; to review the publications "Fair Housing Advertising in Iowa," and "Iowa Fair Housing Guide 1990.' This case is now on appeal in Linn County District Court.

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