The Iowa Civil Rights Act calls upon the Commission to perform specified duties and gives it certain powers with which to carry these out. Among those duties are the following:
A. To cooperate with other agencies
in planning and conducting programs designed to eliminate racial, religious,
cultural and intergroup tensions.
B. To issue such publications and reports of investigations and research as shall tend to promote good will among the various racial., religious, and ethnic groups of the state and which shall tend to minimize or eliminate discrimination.
Because of the tremendous caseload, education has not had the emphasis which the Commission would like to give it. The Commission, however, is committed to a strong and viable program of education., not only to fulfill the mandates of the law, but also in the belief that such a program could serve to PREVENT DISCRIMINATION. Since a considerable amount of discrimination occurs because of ignorance of the laws, not through willful acts with evil intent, information on the laws and court rulings should serve to prevent some of these illegal activities.
1973 emphasis: In 1973 the Commission has deemed that more time and effort will be spent on programs of education. The Commission asked for funds to add two full - time professionals to work solely in this area, in the belief that any amount of money and effort spent in this vital area will pay dividends far in excess of the expenditure. If the Legislature supports this dynamic and forward looking proposal, which can be labeled as nothing but "positive", it will be participating in some exciting and progressive programs.
Listed below are some of the major programs and concepts of the education package:
Seminar 73: A new program (to be carried out if NEW MONIES are appropriated) to emphasize the POSITIVE ways that employers and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission can cooperate to achieve equality of opportunity for all Iowans, as envisioned in the Iowa Civil Rights Act. It will take the form of a one (1) Day Seminar each month in a different city in Iowa.
This service of the Commission will summarize the civil rights law and explain to employers, and others., its hopes and objectives. Local community members (from all segments: business, industry, education, labor, government, minorities, etc.) will be encouraged to take affirmative steps to prevent discrimination from occurring, and when it does occur to take effective steps to see that it is remedied.
By meeting on a non-adversarial basis to freely and openly discuss problems and questions of mutual concern it is hoped that communities can learn to deal with these problems on a local level, so that the Civil Rights Commission does not have to become involved.
Major Conferences - The Commission sponsored a major conference (February 1972) aimed at drawing as large a number of participants from all segments of the community as possible, particularly employers. This conference featured nationally known practitioners in civil rights law enforcement. The thrust was prevention of discrimination through understanding of what it is, and what the law is in this area. Post conference reports indicate that this approach was very helpful, and more conferences of a similar nature are planned.
Training Programs - The Commission has conducted a number of training sessions for persons interested in civil rights law enforcement. Intensive training in the law., in enforcement, and in prevention, is given. The Commission believes that through these training programs, (as well as "Seminar '73" and all other education programs) it can be of significant service to local communities., by helping them to be cognizant of their problems and how these can be solved on a local level. More of these programs are planned.
Consultants - The Commission receives phone calls daily from persons subject to the provisions of the Act, seeking help to avoid violation of the law., or just general information concerning its provisions. Also, hundreds of letters are received each year seeking information about the Commission and the law it enforces. Each request is answered individually with as much detail as feasible - requiring a good deal of time. However, these activities are considered to be very important in terms of the Commission's total program of education to prevent discrimination.
Speeches - The Commission has given a number of speeches, and has participated in many seminars and panels, throughout Iowa. The thrust of these speeches is to make local communities aware of just what discrimination is, particularly in light of recent court decisions, and to show persons subject to the Civil Rights Act how to avoid violating it and to remedy problems caused by discrimination. Prevention and cooperation are constantly stressed, in all that the Commission does.
Referral Agency - Daily the Commission receives phone calls and visits from people over whose problems the Commission does not have jurisdiction. Nevertheless the staff spends a good deal of time ascertaining what the problem really is and attempting to direct the person to the best possible place to get the problem resolved.
State Agency Affirmative Action Program - A program designed by the Commission to be implemented by state agencies would provide for internal resolution of complaints of discrimination ( where the Commission feels that problems can best and most effectively be dealt with). Only when the individual agency is unable to properly and justly handle the complaint will the Commission be called to help. The Commission will provide regular and continuing training programs for all persons working on the EEO programs within the agencies, and will provide as much help and positive input as possible to make the system really effective. This program is in the spirit of inter-agency cooperation called for in Executive Order #9. It also calls for state agencies to monitor their recruitment and hiring programs for minorities and women, as well as the programs of the agencies' vendors and contractors to be sure they are in compliance with the Civil Rights Laws.
Rules and Regulations - The Commission has passed rules and regulations as per its statutory duty, in order to aid employers and others covered by the statute to understand more fully what the statute means, how it affects various segments of the community, and how the Commission will go about enforcing the provisions of the law. The Commission feels that the more understanding persons subject to the law have about it and its enforcement, the more easily and willingly it can be complied with, thus preventing many discriminatory acts.
Publications: The Commission
prepares and disseminates literature of various kinds and for various purposes.
Some of it is designed as general information on the Commission's activities;
some is a reprint of the law, court decisions, and rules and regulations;
and some is definition and interpretation of the law. The following literature
is available upon request for distribution by the Commission:
Iowa Civil Rights Act: The Law
numbers 1, 2, and 3 are out of print
Rules and Regulations:
Chapter 1 - Sex Segregated Want-Ads
Chapter 2 - Employee Selection Procedures
Chapter 3 - Rules of Practice
Chapter 4 - Sex Discrimination
Iron Workers Local #67 vs. John Hart and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission
Iowa Fair Employment Practices Guide:
(a handbook of commonly used employee selection criteria, and the manner
in which they commonly are used discriminatorily.)
Various brochures and pamphlets about the Commission and civil rights.
Get jobs back: Last, but certainly not least, is the Commission's work in helping those who are the victims of discrimination. It has become something of a cliche today, but the Commission feels that if it can get people off the welfare rolls (persons forced to be there because they were discriminated against) and back onto the workrolls where they belong, then it has carried out its duties under the law.