PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS DISCRIMINATION
The Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 forbids discrimination -based on race, creed, color, national origin, or religion -- in accommodations, advantages, facilities, services, or privileges of any place of public accommodation. The Act also forbids advertising or publicizing in any way to discourage minorities from taking advantage of public accommodations. Parties covered include: owners, lessees, sublessees, proprietors, managers, or superintendents. The Act exempts religious institutions with bona-fide religious qualifications, and rental or leasing of transient housing of less than 6 rooms if the owner or occupant resides therein.
The Commission processed a total of 20 complaints involving places of public accommodations during the 1969 reporting year. Fifteen (15) of these 20 complaints were resolved, with 5 still under investigation on November 30, 1969. Thirteen (13) of these 20 complaints were opened during 1969, while the other 7 had carried over from the previous year.
The respondents in the 20 complaints included: 3 bowling alleys, 2 city police departments, a county agency, a district court, a private employment agency, a fraternal organization, a hotel, a motel, a restaurant (two complaints), a public school district, a service station, 2 skating rinks, and 3 taverns.
Sixteen (16) of the 20 complaints were on the basis of race, 2 on the basis of national origin, and the other 2 on the basis of creed. Three (3) of the 20 complaints were filed by the Commission as Commission charges, with the other 17 filed by individuals (13 by blacks and 4 by whites, including 1 by Mexican-Americans). Nine (9) of the 15 complaints that were resolved were conciliated, while no probable cause was found in the other 6.
Of the 9 complaints conciliated, 2 involved the same restaurant which refused service on a number of occasions to several groups of Negro and white co-workers During the Commission investigation of these complaints, the executive director and field investigator (both black) were also refused service. The restaurant operator signed a conciliation agreement (a) to provide courteous and prompt service to all customers on a nondiscriminatory basis; (b) to write letters of apology to the Negro and white co- workers who had been refused service; and (c) to report monthly to the Commission on the restaurant's service to non-whites. Non-whites subsequently. have been served without disparity.
A fraternal organization., which is
a private club, was the subject of a Commission charge after the doorman
admitted, a non-member white couple but later barred a non-member black
couple in the same-party. The organization's national constitution barred both non-white members and non-white guests, and the local chapter apparently could do nothing to change the
national policy. However, the Commission investigation demonstrated that the organization may have been in violation of state liquor license regulations by catering to the general public in
this instance since the white couple was admitted as "guests" of a member who was a complete stranger who saw them milling around at the door. The officials of the fraternal organization
signed a conciliation agreement (a) that the organization would be operated strictly as a private club; (b) that members would be notified in writing of the "whites-only" national rule on
membership and guests to prevent embarrassing situations like this in the future; (c) that letters of apology would be sent, to the Negro and white couples involved in the incident; and (d) that future advertising in the media by the organization would make it clear that only members and pre-arranged, guests would be admitted to the organization.
A Commission charge against a private
employment agency - which was accused of agreeing to include no
blacks, Indians, or other minorities
in a job referral for typists -- was conciliated. The owner signed a conciliation
agreement that the agency (a) would not accept or make discriminatory job
referrals; (b) would report to the Commission anyone requesting that it
make discriminatory job referrals; and (c) would make quarterly reports
for a year regarding the agency's disposition of minority applicants for
A hotel owner signed a conciliation agreement, after a Commission investigation found probable cause for the charge that racial discrimination was involved when a black professor's room reservation made over the telephone was canceled when he appeared at the hotel to check in. He agreed to not use discriminatory criteria in renting his rooms, and to report monthly for six months regarding the disposition of any minority customers.,
After the Commission investigation found probable cause for the complaints, the respondents in 3 other conciliated complaints signed conciliation agreements that they would in the future offer their services on a nondiscriminatory basis. These included 2 bowling alleys which had not granted a black women's bowling league a time slot and a tavern which overcharged blacks for beer.
The Commission found no probable cause for these charges: A black female charged a white police officer with refusing to file an accident report when her car allegedly was hit by a white female. A black women's bowling league charged a bowling alley proprietor with giving preference to white bowling leagues. Black males charged a tavern with overcharging them for their beer and later refusing them service. Fourteen black college students attending an out-of-town conference charged a motel operator with not giving them rooms (However, there were no vacancies that night). A black male alleged that there were racial overtones in a district court procedure implicating him in a crime (However, he received a suspended sentence). A white male of Dutch descent charged a county attorney in a largely German area with arbitrarily taking legal action to repossess complainant's farm (However, he did not have clear title to the farm).
The 5 complaints still under investigation at the close of the 1969 reporting year included these charges of discrimination: A black girl was not selected as a member of the school marching unit (However, the school has agreed to add a black teacher to the selection committee). A black family claimed it was denied the use of restroom facilities at a service station. A black female charged a local police officer with brutality when he removed her bodily from a municipal swimming pool. Two separate groups of white males charged two separate skating rinks with discriminating against them on the basis of creed, having refused them admittance because of their personal appearance (long hair, sideburns).