Court Upholds Commission Order for
Union to Pay Damages and to Integrate its Membership:District Court Judge
James Denato has, with some modifications,, upheld the Iowa Civil Rights
Commission's findings and order in the case of Iron Workers Local No. 67
v. Hart. This Commission has found in a public hearing on April 30, 1970
that on April 23, 1969 the Iron Workers Local 67's business agent (William
Reed) had issued a work permit to Joseph Roe, a black non-union member --
but that later that same day members of the Iron Workers local union began
leaving the job on sick leave after Mr. Reed visited the job site. The sick
leave absences in
creased the next day, whereupon John Hart, the vice-president of the Weitz Construction Company, filed a complaint of discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. The workers returned to work on April 25, by which time the Weitz Construction Company had suffered damages due to work delays and to the extra expense of hiring security guards after anonymous telephone threats of violence at the work site. The Commission concluded after the hearing that the union and its agent had violated the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and issued certain orders which were the subject of the union's petition for review to the district court for Polk County.
Judge Denato concluded that with
some exceptions (as to damages) that "the findings of fact of the Commission
have ample support in the evidence" and the court "affirm[ed]
the Commission's conclusions of law." Judge Denato affirmed the Commission's
broad authority "to require whatever action is necessary to undo the
discriminatory practice and assure the end of it," noting that "[m]oney
damages are contemplated [in the law]." He pointed out that by terms
of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is directed
to resolve complaints of prescribed discriminatory practices, including
holding a public hearing on the matter when voluntary conciliation fails.
The Act further states that when the Commission determines from the evidence
at a hearing that discrimination has occurred (or is occurring), "the
Commission shall . . . issue . . . an order requiring such respondent to
cease and desist from such discriminatory . . . practice and to take such
affirmative action, including, but not limited to, hiring, reinstatement,
or upgrading of employees, with or without back pay, . . . [etc.], . . .
as in the judgment of the Commission shall effectuate the purposes of this
[Act]." (emphasis added). The Act also states: "This chapter shall
be construed broadly to effectuate its purposes."
The Commission's order of May 12, 1970 gave judgment to the Weitz Construction Company in the amount of $6,000 from the Iron Workers Local 67 and $1,314.56 from William Reed personally. Judge Denato reduced the damages to $1,033.50 from the union, and ruled that Mr. Reed was not personally liable. The allowable damages covered only loss of work time. The defendants were not held responsible for the cost of security guards since the evidence on the Record was "insufficient as a basis in fact for concluding [they] made [the] calls."
The other far-reaching points in the Commission's order were affirmed, with the only modifications being the additional provision noted by underlining in points (b) and (d) below. The order as thus modified by the court provides:
(a) That Iron Workers Local 67 pay to the Weitz Construction Company the sum of $1,033.50 (in compensatory damages).
(b) That Iron Workers Local 67 admit
Joseph Roe to membership in its local as journeyman iron worker, provided
he is qualified as measured by the usual qualifications-for such
status applicable to all other applicants; as well as submit to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission forthwith an affirmative action program to recruit, solicit, and admit minorities to its membership.
(c) That Iron Workers Local 67 suspend the use of tests as for admission to its union.
(d) That Iron Workers Local 67 and William Reed issue work permits to all persons who have completed six months of satisfactory employment on a work permit, provided they are qualified
as measured by the usual qualifications for such status applicable to all other applicants.
(e) That Iron Workers Local 67 and William Reed issue work permits to all persons equally without regard to race, creed, color, religion, or national origin.
(f) That at Iron Workers Local 67 all persons be signed out on jobs from the union hall equally on a first-come, first served basis, within the framework of union operating procedure except that a union member may not be given preference solely on the basis of his membership.
(g) That Iron Workers Local 67 and its membership refrain from harassment, coercion, or duress against any person seeking membership.
(h) That Iron Workers Local 67 refrain from leaving a job or otherwise harassing any contractor giving employment to minority persons.
(i) That Iron Workers Local 67 and William Reed report to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission the names, addresses and telephone numbers of minorities contacted, issued work permits, admitted to membership, and the jobs to which they are assigned.
(j) That Iron Workers Local 67 submit to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission all tests used by the union, along with proof of validation for cultural unbias and job relatedness before being used for promotional purposes within said union.
The union has filed an appeal with the Iowa Supreme Court.
Interracial Couple Stay in Trailer
Court: An interracial married couple (black male and white female) were
served a notice to vacate their lot in a trailer court within 30 days. The
date for moving was extended an additional 30 days since the husband was
ill, and the couple then planned to move into a house. Upon changing their
minds about moving into a house,
they filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission before the extended moving date had expired. After the Commission found "probable cause" that discrimination had occurred,
the owner agreed to withdraw the notice to vacate. The conciliation agreement states that the only stipulation as to the complainants' future conduct in the trailer court is that they
conduct themselves in the same manner as any other resident, with the same rules applying to all residents. The controversy had centered around the trailer court manager, who was fired by the
time that the complaint was filed.
White Female Hired as Cab Driver: A white female applied for a job as a cab driver, but was informed by a company employee that he did not want a woman working for him. When the company continued to advertise in the newspaper for a cab driver, she filed a complaint with the local human rights commission, which referred the case to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. The latter's investigation disclosed that the company was in the process of changing ownership. The new owners, when confronted with the fact that a refusal to hire an otherwise qualified female as a cab driver violates the Iowa Civil Rights Act (since sex is not a bona fide occupational qualification for that job), promptly hired her.
Commission Orders Damages Paid to
Negro Denied a House: Racial discrimination was found in a housing case
in Waverly, Iowa, following a public hearing. A black man (Harold Lloyd,
the complainant) and his white wife made an appointment on the telephone
to see a house advertised in the newspaper as being for rent. While they
waited at the house, the owner (Davey Smith, the respondent) drove by and
thus failed to stop to show the property to them. At various stages of the
Commission's investigation of this case, the owner offered three different
reasons for his refusal to rent to the Lloyds. However, the Commission concluded
from the evidence at the hearing that the owner instead had based his refusal
to rent on the fact of Mr. Lloyd's race and furthermore that the Lloyds
were also discriminated against by being subjected to different requirements
to qualify as tenants than are other prospective tenants.
The Commission's order included these provisions:
(1) That the respondent cease and desist from any and all discriminatory practices;
(2) That the respondent pay to the complainant the sum of $150.00 damages for inconvenience, humiliation and embarrassment;
(3) That in lieu of the payment of $150.00 to the complainant the respondent rent the property sought by Harold Lloyd in this complaint to the complainants;
(4) That the respondent notify the Iowa Civil Rights Commission of the location of each of his rental properties; as well as report to the Civil Rights Commission each month the number
of vacancies and their location, and the names and addresses of every minority person seeking to rent from the respondent;
(5) That respondent shall when advertising state in his ad that his property is available to anyone regardless of race; and
(6) That respondent shall post an ad on a centrally located bulletin board of Wartburg College at Waverly, Iowa whenever he has a vacancy in his property.
Jewish Male Returns to Job: A white
male was fired from his job as manager of a retail food store in
Des Moines allegedly after the company officials learned that he
The company's stated reasons for his dismissal were found to be unwarranted, and "probable cause" was determined. The complaint was conciliated with the manager rehired in that position.
Black Students Re-instated: Two black males have been reinstated as students at a public university after filing complaints with this Commission. They had been arrested following a fight with white students at a local tavern. The two blacks (who were already on social probation) were suspended for the rest of the school year, following a hearing before the Student Conduct Committee. During the Commission's investigation, an ad hoc committee of the university administration examined the charges and determined that they were not grave enough to warrant suspension.
Color Discrimination Corrected in Job Order: A wholesale sea-food distributor placed a discriminatory job order with the Iowa State Employment Service, noting that "a Negro is O.K.,
but only if light complected." The owner refused to remove the "light" qualification when Employment Service personnel visited him at the plant. The Employment Service then
refused him referral service and contacted this Commission (which filed a Commission charge against him). He signed a conciliation agreement stating that he would no longer make personnel assignments on basis of skin-color variations (dark Negroes had been placed in the basement and light-complected Negroes upstairs where customers came in), as well as pursue an affirmative action "equal opportunity" program of recruitment,placement, and job advertisement.
Motel Discrimination Against Blacks
Corrected: A black in Waterloo was expecting overnight guests from Des Moines,
and went to a local motel to arrange for a room for them. The
desk attendant informed him that there were no vacancies -- but he did not switch on the "no vacancy" sign until the black arrived. When the black observed the "no vacancy" sign being switched off as he drove away, he asked a white acquaintance to seek a room there -- and a room was promptly rented to the white. A complaint was then filed with the Waterloo Human Rights Commission, which notified the Iowa Civil Rights Commission of the complaint. As a backup measure, a Commission charge was filed by the State Commission, but the investigation was deferred to the Waterloo Commission. The complaint was then conciliated by the Waterloo Commission after it had set a date for a public hearing. The conciliation agreement contained pledges by the motel owner (1) to pay $10.00 damages to the black couple who were inconvenienced in not getting the room; (2) to abide by the human rights ordinance in the future; (3) to display an equal opportunity sign in all of his rental properties; and (4) to send a qualified letter of apology to the original complainant as well as to the couple wanting the room.
National Origin Discrimination Corrected in Factory: A white male who emigrated from Germany in the late 194O's was fired from his job as a dye operator in a factory in Keokuk
after he tore down a cardboard "No Smoking" sign which was written in English and German, as well as cursing the foreman for putting up the sign. He speaks English and has worked
at the company for almost 20 years. The company management decided to reinstate him but to suspend him for six days without pay. He then filed a complaint with this Commission,
which, after finding "probable cause" for his allegation of discrimination on the basis of his national origin, conciliated the case. The company agreed to (1) reimburse him for three of the six
days of the disciplinary layoff (six days layoff being considered excessive under the circumstances); (2) reprimand the foreman for putting up the sign; (3) advise the foreman as well as other employees that discriminatory practices on the job will result in termination; and (4) implement an affirmative action program to improve its employment of minorities.
Commission Orders Trailer Court to Cease Discrimination Against Interracial Couple: The Iowa Civil Rights Commission determined that racial discrimination in housing occurred in a case that culminated in a four-day public hearing in October, 1970. A black male (Seifu Haile) and his white wife purchased a mobile home from a white resident (George Gary Horne) of Bon Aire Mobile Home Lodge which is near Iowa City, but subsequently were told by the manager that they could not move into the trailer court because the court's owner did not want any interracial couples as residents. The Commission's order provides:
(1) That all owners and agents of Bon Aire Mobile Home Lodge cease and desist from discriminatory practices.
(2) That for a period of six months the manager of Bon Aire Mobile Home Lodge extend a bona fide offer to Seifu Haile for a lot in Bon Aire Mobile Home Lodge.
(3) That the rules of Bon Aire (as posted and given to applicants and tenants) be expanded to include statements that (a) the mobile home court does not discriminate on the basis of race., color, creed., religion, national origin or sex; as well as (b) clearly setting forth the objective criteria by which prospective tenants are accepted or refused with respect to new residents on new lots and buyers of trailers already on the court.
(4) That all present occupants be notified in writing that the owners will not in the future discriminate in receiving and processing applications from prospective tenants.
(5) That if the owners expand the court then that they shall advertise in appropriate public media that new lots are available -- instead of relying entirely on friends of owners, friends of present occupants, or friends of friends of occupants and owners to give notice that lots are available (and thus excluding nonwhites and interracial couples).
(6) That for a period of two years the management of Bon Aire Mobile Home Lodge report monthly to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, with a copy forwarded to the Iowa City
Human Relations Commission. Such monthly reports shall include the identity of all minority applicants, if any, and shall state whether such applications were accepted or rejected and the
reasons for the action taken.
(7) That the respondents compensate Seifu Haile for actual costs, $1,074.53, incurred with respect to purchase and resale of the trailer in question, with 7% interest from June 10, 1970 to date of payment.
(8) That the respondents pay Hailes' attorney fees in the reasonable amount of $1,312.50.
(9) That the respondents compensate George Gary Horne $184.00 for personal expenses incurred as a result of the removal of the utilities from the trailer on lot 176 and the loss of wages incurred because of his appearance at the hearing.
(10) That the respondents pay George Gary Horne's reasonable attorney fees in the amount of $743.75.
(11) That the respondents pay the cost of the hearing.
(12) That the respondents compensate Mr. and Mrs. Seifu Haile for pain and suffering caused by being victims of discriminatory action, in the amount of $1,000.
White Not a Victim of Reverse Discrimination: A white male charged that he was the victim of reverse discrimination when he was fired from his job as an assemblyman with a manufacturing company in Creston after he refused an order from his foreman who was black. The foreman told him to move to a new station on the production line as a routine matter to facilitate the plant operation. The new spot would involve the same classification, same pay, and same shift. The foreman was the only black employee in the plant, but nobody else there voiced any complaints against him. The complaint was dismissed for "no probable cause." (The complainant subsequently was denied state unemployment benefits, and this denial was upheld in a hearing upon his appeal to the Iowa Employment Security Commission).
Black Returns to Job at Going Rate: A black female was hired by a nursing home in Des Moines as a licensed practical nurse (L.P.N.) at a lower starting rate of pay than was a white L.P.N. hired on about the same date. Upon becoming aware of the pay discrepancy, the black quit and filed a complaint of discrimination, which was conciliated. She returned to her former job but at the regular hourly rate of $1.75 instead of $1.60.
Accommodation in White's Work Schedule Because of Religion: A white female was fired from her job as a key-punch trainee with a manufacturing company in Waterloo because her Seventh
Day Adventist faith precluded her sometimes from completing her regular working shift during the winter months since her religious faith precluded her from working after sundown on
Fridays. A conciliation was reached with her going back to work with full back pay (and without loss of fringe benefits) for the time lost. She can leave work without pay at sundown in the future. (This was a State Commission charge filed upon a deferral from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).