The next step commanded by law,
if probable cause exists, is "the investigating official shall immediately
endeavor to eliminate such discriminatory or unfair practices by conference,
conciliation, and persuasion." (601A.9:3 lines 10-13.) Thus, a major
share of the agency workload is authorized in one paragraph of.the law,
namely Section 9:3. The personnel of the agency are required to keep confidential
all of the processes of the investigative and conciliation efforts. (601A.9:4.)
Nothing in the law prevents an aggrieved person or a respondent from discussing
the matter with anyone, including members of the press.
During the past 19 months covered by this report, the Commission succeeded in resolving, through conciliation agreements, a total of 175 cases in which 'probable cause' had been found. A total of 55 cases, in which 'probable cause' has been found awaited first or continued efforts at conciliation.
(On the following page is a chart showing the breakdown of conciliated cases into bases and areas.)
The "conciliation agreement" may take a variety of forms including
a simple offer to rent, to hire, to re-hire, to serve, etc., depending on
the nature of the charge. If the Complaint is wide in scope, and covers,
for example, all or most aspects of the employer-employee relationship from
recruitment practices to retirement, a conciliation agreement may be a long,
complex document with a variety of
remedies for correcting the discriminatory practices which were a part of
the "probable cause" finding.
Note in the summaries of examples of conciliation agreements which follow that all identifying information is eliminated.
Public Accommodations - Race
The allegation involved refusal to serve accompanied by a spoken racial slur. The Conciliation Agreement provided for: (1) A letter of apology to the Complainant. (2) Adoption of written non-discriminatory policies and submission of the policy statement to the Commission. (3) Written contracts with tenants which shall contain the statement that discrimination will not be tolerated. Copies of the new standard contract form were to be provided to the Commission.
Employment - Race and Sex
The case was an extensive charge relating to recruitment, hiring, promotion and related employment practices. A broad, lengthy investigation resulted in a finding of probable cause. The Conciliation Agreement in such a case contains in brief: A list of general principles including the statement that the agreement is not an admission of violation but it is an expression of a desire that employment practices are in compliance with the laws. The actions agreed to include: The use of validated tests only. Development of minority and female referral sources in addition to the use of the local Iowa Employment Service office. Notification of the recruitment sources of expected vacancies for each quarter. Notification of those referral sources as vacancies actually occur. Written notice to private employment agencies requesting the referral of minority and female applicants and that the employer does not wish applicants to be pre-screened by unvalidated tests. In advertising: identify itself as an Equal Opportunity employer and to specify Male/Female; to use minority media; to submit report of advertising practice with quarterly report. In college recruiting, interviewers will be instructed to interview all minority persons and women who apply. Regular hiring process: minority persons and women who apply will be requested to file an application whether vacancies exist or not. If minorities or women are not hired at the time they apply, the applications will be kept on file and the employer will make an effort to place minorities and women later in positions for which they are qualified. The employer will analyze the workforce to determine which job categories underutilize women and minorities in comparison to the population of the workforce of the area as a whole. The employer agrees to examine his job description system and all other aspects of the personnel system to eliminate discriminatory elements and to attempt to place minorities and women in positions traditionally held by white males only. The employer agrees to treat pregnancy in the same way as any other temporary disability. When women return from maternity leave they will not lose seniority rights or fringe benefits. The employer will submit quarterly reports to the Commission for two years, the reports to include copies of notices to various referral sources, statistical summaries of workforce, promotions, advertising practices, changes in job description systems, etc. Other provisions of the agreement include the posting of notices, sensitivity training for supervisors, and establishment of numerical goals for increasing and improving employment status of minorities and women.
Employment - Race and Sex
The case involved a differential in pay to minority laborers and white laborers and a sex-segregated job assignment system.
The Conciliation Agreement included a provision for backpay to minority laborers, who had not been assigned to tasks for which premium rates were paid. The amount to be paid would be in relation to the average amounts paid to white laborers for premium rate work. Back pay was to be paid to female bus drivers who had not been assigned to field trips which permitted extra pay to male drivers. The custodial staff was to be reorganized to abolish the classification of matron and to make job assignments in the custodial staff on a non-sex segregated basis and to increase the number of minority persons on the custodial staff so that it would be similar to the minority composition of the community. Women who were classified as matrons were to be notified of their rights to bid on higher positions which became vacant.
These summaries of Conciliation Agreements show that continued work by the Commission staff is required even though a complaint is described as resolved. Many agreements contain requirements for reporting progress or improvement, for instance in the employment
status of women or minorities. The receipt of reports implies review of these reports by the receiving agency. Failure to live up to the terms of such an agreement is, in a legal sense, a breach of contract. In the absolute sense, the purpose of the law is not to obtain a signed statement, but to eliminate the discriminatory practices by the action agreed to in the document.
Conciliation Agreements usually contain the commitment by the Respondent to take 'affirmative action' to correct the discriminatory policies and practices which were discovered. A part of the 'affirmative action' may include the adoption of a "Written Affirmative Action Program." The Commission, through the Affirmative Action administrator may provide assistance to respondents in their attempts to take the necessary affirmative action to correct practices. (The Conciliation Agreements do not represent a technical finding of a violation!) The methods for correcting situations resolved in conciliation agreements rather than through hearing process and resulting 'order' by the Commission or a court are often the same as would be contained in an 'order.' The purpose of the law is to correct, not to punish.
The technical assistance to respondents has been added to the specific assigned task of the Affirmative Action administrator of the agency during 1974. As additional respondents agree to prepare "Written Affirmative Action Programs" as a part of complaint conciliation, this activity will expand.