The Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 forbids discrimination -on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, or national origin -- in hiring, accepting, registering, classifying, referring for employment, discharging, and membership in labor organizations. The Act also forbids advertising or indicating in any manner that minorities are not welcome for employment or membership. The Act covers employers, employment agencies, labor organizations (and employees, agents, or members thereof). The Act exempts employers with fewer than four employees, religious institutions with bona-fide religious qualifications, and employment in an employer's home or for personal services.
Special Employment Project
The Commission's affirmative action employment project -which began on September 1, 1968 -- has been refunded by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with the project to extend now to July 1, 1970. An application to extend the project beyond that date is pending before the E.E.O.C. The project provides funds for a full- time field representative to serve as project director and for a secretary, as well as technical data and supportive services
The project 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 1969 reporting year, 23 Commission charges had been filed against companies with a combined total of 16,193 employees and 384 nonwhite employees. A total of 127 nonwhites have been employed by 16 of these companies since the Commission charges were filed against them. Commission charges are pending against 27 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.
During the 1969 reporting period, the Commission processed a total of 66 complaints in the area of employment. Thirty-four (34) of the 66 complaints were resolved, with the other 32 still in various stages of investigation or resolution at the close of the reporting period. Fifty-two (52) of these 66 complaints were opened in 1969, while the other 14 were carryovers at the start of the 1969 reporting period.
Fifty-eight (58) of the 66 complaints alleged discrimination on the basis of race, 4 on religion, 2 on national origin, and 2 on creed. Thirty-two (32) of the 66 complaints were filed by the Commission as Commission charges (including 23 as part of the Commission's special employment project), while 32 of the other 34 complaints were filed by individuals (25 by blacks and 7 by whites) and 2 were filed by employers on behalf of potential employees who were being discriminated against, in one case by a union and in another by a state licensing agency.
The respondents in the 66 complaints included: five city agencies, a clothier, three construction companies, a consumer finance company, a county agency, two food processors, a heating sales and service company, two insurance companies, eighteen manufacturing companies (22 complaints), a nursing home (2 complaints), a packing company, five public utility companies, a publishing company (3 complaints), a public recreational facility, a restaurant, a retail department store, a retail food store, a retail tire sales store, a salvage store, a public school district, three state agencies, a trucking company, four unions, a wholesale food warehouse, and a wholesale oil sales company.
Of the 34 complaints resolved in 1969, 17 were conciliated, 1 was administratively closed, 14 were closed for no probable cause, 1 was withdrawn by the complainant, and 1 was closed for lack of jurisdiction.
During the reporting period, 17 complaints were conciliated. This total included 9 Commission charges (of underutilization of minorities) under the federally-funded employment project, which is discussed above.
One complaint based on religion was conciliated in which a white male was fired when he refused to work overtime on Saturday (his Sabbath). During a recess immediately after the Commission had started a public hearing, the company agreed to re-employ him in a position not requiring work on Saturdays and to give him back pay.
A black male was rehired as a sanitarian trainee with a county health department, and was given full back pay for the time he lost. He allegedly had been hired, but upon reporting for work was informed that a higher official had rejected his application. He was promoted to permanent status as a sanitarian a few weeks after he was rehired.
A black female, who had quit, returned to her job at a public recreation facility after the Commission acted as a conciliatory agency to resolve a breakdown in communications. She had assumed incorrectly over the years that she was a departmental head, and then quit when a departmental head was hired during general reorganization and expansion of the agency. She since has received her salary increment without penalty for the time lost, but she did not get back pay for the time lost, since she had quit.
A manufacturing company signed a conciliation agreement to revise its testing procedure after a black male filed a complaint charging that, because of the prejudicial actions of the welding foreman in administering the test, he failed the company's welding, test even though he was a certified experienced welder. The company agreed to maintain a standardized welding test with the test scores to be reviewed by both the welding foreman and the head of the welding department, with the test articles to be served for two weeks. The company offered to retest the complainant, who declined because he had secured a welding job elsewhere.
Two of the conciliated complaints
involved discriminatory job orders made by two different employers to the
Iowa State Employment Service offices, one requesting a white service man
and the other specifying a white stock clerk. A Commission charge was filed
in each case when routine efforts by ISES personnel to remedy the situations
were unsuccessful. Both cases were conciliated, with both employers, signing a conciliation agreement stating
that they would not discriminate in the hiring, recruiting or placing
of job orders -- and one of the employers further
agreed to train inexperienced applicants on a non-discriminatory
basis when no experienced applicants
A Commission charge relating to a union member's allegation that union officials made discriminatory remarks at a union meeting that Negroes were not welcome in the union was conciliated -with the union officials signing a conciliation agreement to post in four plant locations copies of the fair-employment provisions of the Iowa Civil Rights Act along with a statement that the union will drop from its membership (with no chance of reinstatement) anyone making discriminatory comments or practicing discrimination.
In a companion Commission charge, a manufacturing company affiliated with the union just discussed signed a conciliation agreement to have the union's bulletin (containing the fair employment law and the union's support of that law) posted at four locations in the plant, and to post its own statement in support of the fair- employment law with violators subject to disciplinary action. The company also agreed to adopt the Commission's suggestions regarding affirmative action in recruiting minorities, and hired two blacks during the investigation.
In addition to these 17 complaints that were conciliated, the Commission administratively closed a complaint by a black female who was fired from her job as the operator of a spot-welding machine in a manufacturing company. The Commission successfully mediated a problem in communications apparently caused when she cursed her supervisor after a mechanical failure in her machine had led to her reprimand for not being at her machine. The company then agreed to rehire her, but under its collective bargaining agreement with the union could not reinstate her seniority. Her continued refusal to accept these reasonable terms left the Commission with no other alternative then to administratively close the case since the company was willing to comply with the law.
During the reporting year, 14 complaints in employment were closed for no probable cause, thus indicating that the alleged discrimination was not substantiated by the Commission investigation. Two (2) of the 14 no probable cause findings involved Commission charges of general underutilization of minorities under the special employment project.
In other cases, a complaint by a black male, alleging that he was unable to ascertain from the union when the test would be given for determining eligibility for apprenticeship training, was closed for no probable cause after he subsequently did take and fail the test -- and no irregularities in the union's testing standards between blacks and whites were uncovered by the Commission investigation.
A Commission charge relating to an allegation by two blacks that a union would not admit them to membership was closed for no probable cause because the blacks had failed to pay the usual application and membership fees. In a companion Commission charge, no probable cause was found for the allegation that the construction company used lack of black membership in the union just discussed as an excuse for the company not hiring black laborers -- after the company had referred the two apparently qualified blacks to the union for membership.
A black male applicant alleged he was wrongfully passed over for a sanitarian position with a city sewage and water department, but the Commission's finding was no probable cause since he filed the complaint against the wrong agency and it was too late under the provisions of the law to charge the correct party.
The Commission investigation did not substantiate the following charges of discrimination, and so these cases were closed for no probable cause:
A white male, alleging religious discrimination, was not eligible for overtime pay by making extra over-the-road trucking runs because he refused to drive on Saturday (his Sabbath).****A black male, claiming he was following the black foreman's orders, was fired from his foundry job at a manufacturing company after ruining working materials. ****A black male, claiming he had been harassed and physically abused by his white foreman, was fired from his job with a city waterworks department for striking the foreman.****A black male was fired from his job with a construction company allegedly because he had cursed a service station attendant while he was on duty.****A black male, claiming he had an out-of-town medical appointment, was fired from his job with a local wholesale food warehouse for not being available to work overtime.****A black male, claiming he was used as a scapegoat for his white foreman's errors, was fired from his job as a custodian for a governmental agency because he repeatedly disputed his foreman's work procedures and had called the foreman a "dumb S.O.B."****A black female, claiming she had never been warned about her absenteeism, was fired from her job with a public utility company for excessive absenteeism.****Two black males, claiming they were qualified since they had been referred to a job site from the union hall, were fired as laborers with a construction company after they were unable to perform the normal job requirements.
Two other complaints in employment
were closed during 1969. In one, the Commission determined that it lacked
jurisdiction after it had investigated a complaint by a white male who alleged
that his teacher's contract was not renewed because of his religious convictions
and his teaching methods. In the other, the complainant -- a black male
who had been fired from his job as a laborer in a packing plant -- withdrew
his complaint after he had received civil remedy in the courts.
At the close of this reporting period, 32 complaints had not been resolved, including 12 Commission charges under the special employment project. Two (2) of the 32 open complaints were in advanced stages of disposition, and so will be discussed rather than merely mentioned.
In one of them, a black female returned to her job at a nursing home as a licensed practical nurse (L.P.N.) at the apparently going rate of $2.75 an hour. She had quit upon learning that a recently- hired white L.P.N. working part-time was receiving $2.75 an hour while she was being paid only $2.60 an hour because of a probable breakdown in communications when she was hired. This case has not been officially closed, pending further review of the company's employment policies in light of a complaint filed subsequently by another employee.
In the other, a white general contractor filed a complaint against a union official alleging that union members walked off a job site when a non-union black with a six-month work permit reported to work. This case was conciliated by the Commission with the union issuing work permits to several blacks and agreeing to honor its commitments at the job site, but the case was reopened when the union subsequently failed to give a black an oral examination for apprenticeship training after he had passed the written test.
Of the other 18 open complaints in employment, 13 are on the basis of race, 1 on religion, 2 on national origin, and 2 on creed. Seven (7) of the complaints relate to firings -- 4 involving black males, 1 involving a white male allegedly fired because of his Jewish religion, and 2 involving white females alleging discriminatory firings based on their creed (including a waitress because of her association with hippies, and a city urban renewal relocation officer for standing up professionally for rights of minorities). Two (2) complaints involve black male employees passed over on job bids -- one with a city agency and the other with a publishing company. Two (2) complaints involve black male employees of the same manufacturing company who claim that they are being intimidated and harassed by their white foreman. A Commission charge against a city civil service commission alleged that the general employment test is racially and culturally biased (The civil service commission to date has agreed, subject to authorization by the city manager, to employ an industrial psychologist to evaluate the test).
A black female employee alleges that she was transferred from her training position that would upgrade her employment after she had not received proper supervision and instruction. Two complaints involve alleged discriminatory refusals to hire blacks. Two complaints involve allegedly unjust inferior job assignments - one by a black male and the other by a female of Irish origin married to a Mexican-American. A white couple was not allowed to employ a Greek national when a state licensing agency refused to give him a test for certification since the state agency had no reciprocal licensing agreement with Greece. (After the Commission resolved a breakdown in communication, he was given - and passed - the test, has been licensed, and is working for the complainant).