The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has funded two special projects which have added staff members on a temporary basis to work in ferreting out discrimination in employment as well as developing systematic investigative tools to resolve discrimination in all areas. These projects are designed by the EEOC to develop comprehensive nationwide affirmative enforcement partnerships with state and local antidiscrimination agencies. The EEOC feels, as does the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, that an agency which is only "individual complaint-oriented" will not eliminate deeply inbred patterns of systematic discrimination. Such a passive agency approach relies too heavily on the individuals who file complaints, as opposed to the agency taking the initiative in seeking out patterns of discrimination.
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 work force and which have no effective affirmative programs designed to correct the situation.
When the results of the Commission's investigation indicates that there is probable cause that the company is engaged in discriminatory employment practices conciliation is entered into. 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.
One of the major provisions of the agreement provides for the establishment of an affirmative action file to remedy the effects of past discrimination. This is a temporary device 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.
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 EEOC 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.
This second project is also aimed at bringing to fruition legal theories which will aid the purposes and powers of the Commission. As such, it has already proven invaluable by providing legal advice on a myriad of questions that arise relative to the daily operations of the Commission. It has also proven invaluable in aiding the Commission in its preparation of the Ironworkers case, and in the preparation and adoption of Commission rules and regulations.