Cause Decisions

A Commissioner, who has been assigned to the specific case, receives the written report of an investigation for the purpose of determining "that probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint." (601A.9-3, lines 8, 9, 10.) If, on the basis of the information provided by the staff ' the Commissioner finds that "no probable cause" exists, the complaining party and the respondent are notified and the complaint is closed.

Probable cause can be described best in lay terms as a "reasonable suspicion". It is only a preliminary, tentative finding based on the evidence then available. It is not a finding of violation of the law in the legal sense.

If "probable cause" is found to exist by the Commissioner, the process continues.

Between December 1, 1972 and June 30, 1974, the Probable Cause statistics of the complaint process upon cases submitted to Commission members were:

No Probable Cause - 167
Probable Cause - 230
Total findings - 397


Employment - Race

Allegation: Termination because of race.

Complainant's charge was that he was discharged from his job because of his race. Investigation revealed complainant had a poor attendance record, including six days absent in the first month of work. Personnel records revealed that white employees with similar absenteeism records were disciplined and terminated. Investigation revealed Complainant was similarly reprimanded and received counseling with respect to consequences of absenteeism. There was a finding of No Probable Cause and the case was closed.

Employment - Sex

Allegation: Complainant was not allowed to use accumulated sick-pay for maternity absence.

Investigation: Complainant missed four days work to deliver twin boys. She had accumulated sick pay time, but Respondent's policy did not permit sick pay for pregnancy. A probable cause finding was made and the case was in conciliation process at the end of reporting period.

Public Accommodations - Race

Allegation: The Complainant believed he was not served promptly because of his race.

Investigation: Through interviews it was discovered that the establishment was unusually busy on the night in question. A test was conducted by Black persons and those persons were served promptly. Black individuals in the community told investigators they often frequented the establishment and had no problems being served. A No Probable Cause decision was recommended.

Employment - Race

Allegation: The Respondent engages in recruiting and hiring practices which tend to exclude Blacks.

Investigation: An interrogatory (questionnaire) was submitted to the Respondent. The material obtained was evaluated and tabulated and interviews were conducted to obtain additional information.

The Metropolitan area in which the establishment is located contains a substantial minority population. The Respondent's workforce was mostly white, with a ratio of minority workers far below that of the Metropolitan area. The jobs in the company were mostly assembly type jobs and no particular qualifications were required of new employees.

The recruitment system in use at the time of the filing of the Complaint was word-of-mouth from present employees and walk-in applicants. (These recruiting methods have been established in many court decisions throughout the country as having the effect of perpetuating the composition of a workforce. Whites tend to refer friends and relatives who are also white.) The employees were selected from among applicants available by personnel department on the basis of personal interviews.

Information concerning applicants and persons hired in a 12 month period was examined. A disproportionate share of white employees were hired into higher paying positions. There were four departments in the plant. The few blacks who were hired were placed in the two lower paying departments. The Company trains nearly all its personnel for positions in the plant after they are hired so there is no difference in job entry level requirements in the four departments. A probable cause finding was made and the case was in the conciliation stage at the end of the fiscal year.

Employment - Sex

Allegation: Complainant contends she was not referred to a particular job opening by an Employment Agency.

Investigation: Respondent advertised in newspaper seeking candidates for positions which employers described. Investigation revealed that 12 candidates had applied for the position in question, only one of whom was female (the Complainant). Five men were referred to the employer with recommendations by the Respondent. Through interviews and examination of application forms and interviewer's notes about the candidates who were referred, it was possible to make comparisons. The Respondent contended that the Complainant was not referred to the employer because she had no experience in the type of work and was unwilling to relocate. The investigative comparison revealed that two of the males who were referred to the employer were not experienced and were unwilling to relocate. Further investigation revealed that the company had a similar opening in the Complainant's home city. There was a Probable Cause finding and at the end of the fiscal year, conciliation was pending.

1974 Annual Report Main Page