A recent court decision declared, "statistics say much and courts listen." As in all previous years of the Commission's existence, 1972 statistics do, in fact, tell a good deal of the story of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission - its progress and problems, its hopes and its fears.

The pattern of increase, as begun in previous years, continued in 1972: increases in complaints filed, in cases closed, in number of cases conciliated; increases in jurisdiction; increases in nearly everything related to the Commission - except funds.

511 formal complaints were received by the Commission, representing an increase of 26% over the previous year. In addition, it nearly doubled the 653 complaints which had been filed with the Commission in the previous 6 1/2 years, combined. 444 complaints were made into C.P. cases (see Definitions, page 14), an increase of 30% over the previous year's 344 C.P.'s.

Table A


  C.P.'s *N.J.'s Total Complaints
Employment 384 (86%)    
Housing 33 (8%)  
Public Accommodations 27 (6%)    
Total 444 67 511

*NOTE: Complaints are checked for jurisdiction immediately upon receipt in the Commission office. Those complaints which obviously do not fall within the jurisdiction granted by the Iowa Civil Rights Act (e.g., not based on age, race, creed,, color, sex, religion, national origin, or disability; not in employment, housing, of public accommodations; filed more than 90 days from date of incident) are NOT given a C.P. (case) number and are NOT entered into the regular Commission case processing mechanism. They are rather given an "N.J." number and closed at the next Commission meeting. In 1972 there were 67 such complaints.


File Matters

In 1972, the Commission officially opened only 15 file matters (see Definitions, page 14 ), approximately 1/5 the number opened in each of the two preceding years. This significant drop reflects a number of things about the Commission's operations, but more than anything it speaks poignantly concerning the tremendous backlog of open cases. Prior to 1972, information which was brought to the attention of the Commission and which was within the realm of the Commission's interests (but which was not filed as a formal complaint) was made into a file matter. An investigator looked into these file matters to determine if the Commission had jurisdiction and if the matter should become a formal complaint. However, the great backlog of formal complaints, which must by law be investigated and formally disposed of, necessarily takes precedence over file matters, in terms of investigative priorities. Therefore, the Commission has ceased making file matters of information which cannot be checked out, and which would then remain only heresay.

Nevertheless, in 15 instances during 1972, file matters were made from information of substantial interest to the Commission, relative to formal complaints, previously evaluated file matters, or situations of continuing interest to the Commission.

Table B


C.P.'s 444
N.J.'s 67
File Matters 15
Total 526


Table C


Dec. 1971 - Nov. 1972 526 444 67 15
Dec. 1970 - Nov. 1971 417 344   73
Dec. 1969 - Nov. 1970 246 169   77
Dec. 1968 - Nov. 1969 162 69   93
Dec. 1967 - Nov. 1968 122 33   89
Dec. 1966 - Nov. 1967 41 17   24
Dec. 1965 - Nov. 1966 39 19   20
July 1965 - Nov. 1965 10 2   8
  1563 1097 67 399

Deferral from the EEOC

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) is a deferral agency for the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In reporting year 1972, 22 employment complaints were deferred to the Commission by the EEOC, accounting for 5.7% of all employment complaints.

Title VII of the U. S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (creating the EEOC) requires that if a state law "prohibits the practices" alleged in an EEOC complaint and the state agency administering that law has the power to "grant or seek relief," then EEOC must allow the agency 60 days to handle the matter. The EEOC has established deferral relationships with Iowa and 34 other states. Thus., when a charge is filed with the EEOC by an Iowa resident the cases is automatically sent to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission for handling.

If a person first files a charge with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, it is standard policy for the Commission to advise the complainant to cross-file with the EEOC. In so doing the person's rights under federal law are protected. (If complainant waits until the Iowa Commission has processed the charge, time limits might expire for filing with EEOC).

In 1972, 142 persons who filed complaints with the ICRC subsequently filed charges of discrimination with the EEOC. The EEOC then (as mandated by its law) deferred these cases back to the Iowa Commission, even though the ICRC already had the complaint, having originally referred the person to the EEOC.

confidentiality and cooperation: Because 33% of the employment cases received by the ICRC ultimately become EEOC deferrals, and all other employment cases have the potential to become deferrals, a rather unique relationship is fostered between the EEOC and the ICRC. This relationship calls for cooperation in all aspects of deferral case processing, and imposes federal restrictions on the ICRC that might not otherwise be demanded under Iowa law. For example, Iowa and federal law both require confidentiality on the part of all persons handling complaints. Heavy penalties await those who would violate this provision. Were this aspect of the Iowa law to be changed, the ICRC would nevertheless remain bound by confidentiality under federal strictures.

This cooperative deferral relationship with the federal government also can be very beneficial to the ICRC in terms of general dissemination of information regarding law and procedure, and staff training in many areas relevant to civil rights law enforcement.

Table D


Original deferrals from the EEOC 22
EEOC deferrals originally referred by the ICRC 142
Total EEOC deferrals to the ICRC 164


Local Human Rights Commission Referrals

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission is notified by a number of municipal human rights commissions (they are mandated to do so by their ordinances) of the filing of charges with their agencies. When the ICRC receives this information) it sends complaint forms to the local complainant advising him/her of the right to file with the ICRC, thus protecting his/her rights under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. In 1972, many persons who filed complaints with local human rights commissions did avail themselves of the opportunity to file with the ICRC.

The Commission seeks always to make its services available, as readily as possible, to all Iowa citizens.

Jurisdictional Basis of Complaints

race: As in previous years, complaints of discrimination due to race or color comprised the largest percentage of complaints filed in 1972 - (39%). This is down 6% from last year, however, due to the larger total number of complaints filed, it still represents a greater absolute number of complaints - 174 in 1972; 156 in 1971. The addition of new jurisdictions (age and disability) also tends to reduce the percentage influence of any one jurisdiction.

sex: Complaints of sex discrimination remained at the same percentage level as last year, indeed at the same level as from the beginning 29 months ago, on July 1, 1970 - 30%. Sex discrimination is not prohibited in housing. The percentage of sex discrimination complaints rises to 32% when calculations are based only on complaints filed in the areas of employment and public accommodations, the two areas where the ban on sex discrimination applies.

age, disability: The new jurisdictional areas - age, mental disability, physical disability - were in effect only 6 months, and as such their overall statistical influence was diminished by 1/2. Nevertheless, they did combine to account for 53 complaints (P.D.-32; M.D.-5; Age-16) and 11.5% of the C.P.s. Already physical disability ranks third in cases filed (7.0%). By doubling their numbers to project a full year's influence, we see that the statistical significance to the Commission will be great (P.D-14%; M.D.-2%; Age-7%; Total -23%).


Table E


Race & Color 174 (39.0%) 135 29 10
Sex 132 (30.0%) 128 N.J. 4
National Origin 15 (3.5%) 15 0 0
Creed 9 (2.0%) 8 1 0
Religion 9 (2.0%) 6 1 2
Race & Sex 15 (3.5%) 14 1 0
Race & Nat'l Origin 13 (3.0%) 12 0 1
Age 16 (3.5%) 16 N.J. N.J.
Physical Disability 32 (7.0%) 29 1 2
Mental Disability 5 (1.0%) 4 0 1
Other 24 (5.5%) 17 0 7
  444 384 33 27



Complaints Resolved, 1972

In 1972 the Commission closed nearly twice as many cases (303) as had been closed in any prior year, yet it ended the year with a backlog of 532 open cases, having received 208 more complaints than could be closed., and having gone into the year with a 324 case backlog.

Due to the tremendous backlog of open cases and the impossibility, during 1972, of receiving additional funds, the Commission tightened its belt, looking within itself to find the areas where time could be saved through greater efficiency.

efficiency efforts: One important time saver has been the introduction of the N.J. procedure. By this method cases which obviously are not within the Commission's jurisdiction are not entered into the formal case processing mechanism, with the resultant effect being a decrease in paperwork and time.

Another important aspect of the efficiency effort has been the push to maintain a well trained and knowledgeable staff, one which understands civil rights law and effective case processing. That understanding allows for a quick determination of the issues at hand and makes for an accurate decision on the necessary steps to eliminate the discrimination.

The Commission has thus availed itself of various training conferences and seminars throughout the country, sponsored and presented by experts in the field. In addition, the Commission provides as much internal staff training as can reasonably be worked into schedules already filled to overflowing with case processing.

These efficiency efforts have obviously been effective, as evidenced by the nearly 100% increase in complaints closed in 1972. It can also be assumed that the Commission's educational and conciliatory efforts have been effective, in that there is greater awareness of the Commission, the law, and compliance requirements under the law, especially by those with whom the Commission deals. This fact can be attested to by the 100% increase in number of cases successfully conciliated (1971 - 33; 1972 -66).

Table F


Public Hearing 2 (1%) 2 0 0
Conciliated 66 (28%) 49 10 7
Administrative Closure 15 (7%) 13 2 0
Dismissed (No Probable Cause) 66 (28%) 50 8 8
*No Jurisdiction (C.P.'s) 73 (30%) 40 2 31
Withdrawn 14 (6%) 11 0 3
  236 165 (70%) 22 (9%) 49 (21%)

*NOTE: Cases listed above as being closed for "no jurisdiction" (C.P.'s) are different from the complaints listed as "N.J." in the "complaints received" section (see Table A). On cases (C.P.'s) listed above it was not obvious upon receipt in the Commission office that they did not meet jurisdictional pre-requisites, thus they were-given a case (C.P.) number and entered into the Commission's regular case processing mechanism. Subsequent investigation revealed that the Commission did not have jurisdiction and the cases were closed accordingly.


C.P.'s 236
N.J.'s 67


Open Case Backlog

324 C.P.'s remained open at the end of 1971 reporting year. 145 of these 324 cases were closed during the 1972 reporting year, leaving 179 cases filed prior to November 30, 1971 still open as of November 30, 1972.

Of the 511 complaints filed during the 1972 reporting year, 158 were closed during this same reporting year, leaving 353 cases filed during 1972 open as of November 30, 1972.


Table G


Filed prior to November 30, 1971 179
Filed Dec. 1, 1971 - Nov. 30, 1972 353
Total cases remaining open Dec. 1, 1972 532


1973 Annual Report Main Page