The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has funded two special projects which have added staff members on a temporary basis to bolster the Commission's compliance division in ferreting out discrimination in employment as well as developing systematic investigative tools to resolve discrimination in all areas.
Affirmative Action Employment Project: This project, which began on September 1, 1968, is-designed to eliminate job discrimination through detailed systematic investigations of the total employment practices of major companies, ascertaining whether the companies are intentionally refusing to employ minorities and/or are unintentionally accomplishing the same end by using obsolete methods of job recruitment, testing, and hiring qualifications which tend to exclude nonwhites and other minorities more so than whites.
Commission charges are filed under the provisions of the Iowa Civil Rights Act against those companies which appear on preliminary investigation to be underutilizing the minority workforce and which have no effective affirmative programs designed to correct the situation. By the close of the 1970 reporting year, 38 Commission charges had been filed against companies with charges pending against 12 other companies.
The E.E.O.C. has provided a detailed standard conciliation agreement to be utilized when the results of the Commission's investigation indicates that there is probable cause that the company is engaged in discriminatory employment practices. The conciliation terms include an agreement by the company to establish the suggested program of affirmative action to assure that equal opportunity is afforded in the company's practices involving recruitment, hiring, promotions, and terms or conditions of employment.
The heart of the program is the affirmative action file which the company agrees to maintain for minority applicants who were not immediately accepted or rejected for employment. These minority applicants are then to be given first consideration whenever vacancies occur. A minority applicant can be removed from this file when the employer determines that the applicant is not qualified for the position and could not become qualified for any position within the company.
Other specific provisions relate to (a) establishing continuing relationships with the local Iowa State Employment Service office and any local private employment agencies; (b) notifying these employment agencies of both expected and unexpected vacancies; (c) advertising in help-wanted ads that the company is an equal opportunity employer and advertising proportionately in minority group media; (d) reviewing job requirements; (e) complying with E.E.O.C. guidelines on employment testing procedures; and (f) reporting quarterly to the State Commission on its continued implementation of this program.
Legal Techniques Development Project: This project, which began on July 1, 1970, has these purposes: (a) to prepare a plan to get the Commission to the point where legal relief in Iowa is equal to the legal relief possible in the federal courts; (b) to assist the Commission and the affirmative action employment project in any legal disputes that may arise; (c) to identify the blockades to the Iowa Commission's effectiveness; and (d) to eliminate the blockades to the Commission's effectiveness so that discrimination in employment in Iowa will cease to exist.
The first milestone in the legal history of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission came quite recently when the District Court of Iowa, Polk County, upheld a ruling and order of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in the Ironworker's case, discussed below. That decision recognized the power of the Commission to assess compensatory damages where the facts supported a discriminatory basis for the monetary loss. The second EEOC project aided the Commission's presentation to the District Court.
This second EEOC project is investigating and will attempt to bring to fruition legal theories which will aid the purposes and powers of the Commission. This project is a pilot project. The boundaries and guidelines as to what should be accomplished and what can be accomplished are not exactly clear. It is clear that the Commission should become more effective than it is -the second EEOC project reaches for that rather vague goal.