DECISION TO GO TO HEARING
If efforts to obtain settlement of a complaint through "conference, conciliation, and persuasion" and through written communications (601A.9:5) fail and the investigating official believes that further efforts 'shall be futile',, that official reports that view to the Commission. If the Commission 'determines that circumstances warrant,' the Commission may decide to hold a hearing on the complaint. (601A.9:6)
Between December 1, 1972 and June 30, 1974, the Commission decided that fifteen public hearings should be conducted. Following receiving of the notice of public hearing, nine respondents subsequently signed conciliation agreements. Five hearings were held in that nineteen month period, and one case went directly to District Court.
The hearings held were upon the cases as summarized below. Note: The Public Hearing Stage is the first point in the entire process at which the Commission may reveal the identity of a person or organization charged with discrimination (except that which is necessary during the process of investigation).
Summaries of Hearings Held
Nancy Moore vs. City of Des Moines
Police Department (EPD 5184). Complainant, a female, was precluded from
applying for the position of 'patrolman' because she failed to meet the height and weight standards required
for that position which are five feet, nine inches, and one hundred forty-nine
pounds. A hearing was held on January 23,
1973. The Commission ruled in
favor of the Complainant and issued an order which required back pay to
the date she would have been hired, were it not for the height and weight
requirement, if she qualifies for the position under to-be-established non-discriminatory
validated standards. The City of Des Moines Police Department appealed the
ruling and the appeal is pending in Polk County District Court.
Crews vs. Iowa Illinois Gas and Electric. Complainant, a Black male employee of Respondent, alleged that he was denied a promotion to the position of accountant because of his race. A hearing was held on March 12, 1973. The Commission found that his allegation of race discrimination did not hold and issued an Order dismissing the complaint. The ruling was not appealed.
L. D. Bass vs. City of Davenport. Complainant, a Black male service worker was discharged by a white supervisor for reasons related to race. Commission Order for Complainant, following a hearing on May 15, 1973. Bass received back pay in the amount he would have earned if he had not been discriminatorily discharged. There was no appeal.
Miller vs. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Complainant, a white male, age 30, alleged he was denied an opportunity to participate in the Respondent's apprentice training program because he was two years over the age requirement. The hearing was held on February 2, 1972. The case was dismissed because of a lack of jurisdiction, specifically, the refusal to permit him to enroll in the apprentice program had occurred before the law on age took effect.
Bunner vs. J. I. Case and Company. Female complainant alleged that she had been denied a position as a welder by Respondent because of her sex. A hearing was held on the complaint on June 27, 1973. No decision had been rendered as of June 30, 1974 by Hearing Examiner Jane Fox of Iowa City.
Decision and the Appeal Process
Following the hearing, which may be conducted by "The Commission, by a Commissioner, or by any hearing examiner appointed by the Commission,." (601A.5:4, lines 17-20) a final decision is rendered by the Commission.
If the decision, following the hearing, is that no discrimination took place, the case is dismissed. If discrimination is found, the Respondent is ordered to take appropriate corrective action.
In both situations, the Complainant
and Respondent have the right to appeal the decision made to a District
Court of Iowa. Between December 1, 1972 and June 30, 1974, three cases were
ruled upon by District Courts of Iowa. Three other cases which had been
appealed and were pending were settled out of court.
Summary of Cases Decided by District Courts
I. C. R. C. and Heinen vs. Johnston Community School District. Complainant alleged that she was not allowed to teach in the fall semester because she was pregnant and her child was due on October 23 and that she was denied the use of accumulated disability pay for that period of time during which she was physically disabled as a result of a childbirth. A Hearing was held by the Commission and the Commission found for the Complainant. The decision was appealed to the District Court and the Judge found for the School District. The case is on appeal by the Commission to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Homesteaders Life vs. Iowa Civil Rights Commission. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission initiated a Complaint. The complaining witness alleged that Homesteaders' mandatory health and accident insurance plan precluded coverage of female employees for maternity reasons. Eight days subsequent to the filing of the complaint and service on Respondent, the Complaining witness was discharged after seven years of working for the Respondent company. The Commission held a hearing and found for the Complaining witness. The Order of the Commission was appealed by Homesteaders to the District Court. The Court ruled in favor of Homesteaders to the effect that the discharge had not been a retaliatory discharge and that the Commission did not have jurisdiction of the insurance program because of Section 15 of the Civil Rights Chapter. The district court ruling was not appealed.
Cedar Rapids School District vs. I.C.R.C, Joan Paar and Judy McCarthy, et. al. (6EPD8789) Judy McCarthy, a physical education teacher in the Cedar Rapids School District, was required to take maternity leave in March,1972. Joan Paar, a language arts teacher, was terminated in April, 1972 because she was pregnant and because she had not completed two years of employment which was a requirement of the district policy with respect to the taking of maternity leave. A complaint was filed by the teachers with the Cedar Rapids Human Rights Commission which held a public hearing and decided in favor of the teachers. The decision was appealed by the Cedar Rapids Community School District to the District Court, which held that the Cedar Rapids City Ordinance was unconstitutional. (That decision is on appeal in the Iowa Supreme Court.)
A complaint had also been filed
with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. The Cedar Rapids School District
filed a special petition for a Declaratory Judgment in District Court against
the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. (This process was by agreement between
the parties to speed up the litigation by bypassing the Iowa Commission
Hearing Process.) A hearing was held in the District Court and Judge William
Eads ruled in favor of the teachers. His Conclusions of Law included: The
holding that the maternity leave policy was discriminatory. "Maternity
leave is treated differently from leaves granted for other absences or disabilities
for which leave and/or sick pay are granted.
"As only women can become pregnant, treating pregnancy disability differently from other disability such as a broken leg, or heart attack is discriminating against female staff members."
The Judge's Order included in part: " ... The portion of the policy that precludes sick pay for at least the period of delivery and hospital confinement is discriminatory." (Emphasis added.)
The ruling provided back pay and fringe benefits for the teachers. The Cedar Rapids School District appealed the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court, and it is pending on the Supreme Court docket.
(Author's note: It would be a disservice to potential Complainants and Respondents, Complainants and Respondents who have Complaints pending, and the general public, not to take notice here of some recent United States Supreme Court rulings on some of the questions with respect to employment rights of women who become pregnant. Those rulings are certain to influence rulings on cases in other Courts.
There are a number of very separate issues which involve rights of employees who become pregnant.
1. The right to take maternity leave.
2. The right to return to work following maternity leave and to have the same or a comparable job.
3. The right to have seniority and other rights unaffected by the taking of maternity leave.
4. The time leave is taken - mandatory at a specific point in pregnancy; or flexible, based on the individual woman's health in relation to the job she performs.
5. The availability of fringe benefits, such as health insurance coverage.
6. The marital status of the pregnant woman.
7. The employment and economic status of her spouse, if any.
8. The availability of accumulated employee "sick pay" benefits.
9. The availability of unemployment
insurance coverage for the amount of absence required by 'normal' delivery
and recovery where insurance programs are provided for other disabilities.
10. The availability of unemployment insurance coverage for extended absence due to "complications" arising during and/or following pregnancy.
These separate issues may be, and have been, further refined by a host of EEOC, Federal District and Federal Circuit Court Decisions and a few rulings by the United States Supreme Court.
Most of the cases which have reached the Supreme Court have arisen under the Constitution. No cases have been decided as of July 1, 1974 by the Supreme Court on maternity issues arising under Title VII, a statute similar to the Iowa Civil Rights Law.
The Supreme Court ruled in Cleveland Board of Education vs. LaFleur, et. al. (7EDP9072), decided January 21, 1974, that school districts may not impose a mandatory leave of absence four (or five) months prior to the birth of a child. The Court held, in addition,, that the Cleveland rules which required that teachers could not return to work until the beginning of the next semester after a child was three months old was "both arbitrary and irrational." The Supreme Court took note of the propriety of the requirement that pregnant teachers give advance notice to supervisors of their need to take maternity leave. The decision of the Court was based on the due process clause of the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Circuit Court of Appeals had decided the case under the Equal Protection Clause.
In Frontiero vs. Richardson (5EPD8609) on May 14, 1973, the Supreme Court held that it was a violation of the Due Process Clause to treat armed service members differently according to sex. The federal laws, which were declared to be unconstitutional, permitted servicemen to automatically declare their wives as dependents and receive extra benefits but required servicewomen to prove that their husbands actually depended on them for at least half their support before being permitted to receive the extra benefits.
California law provides for an unemployment insurance program for state government employees. The employees pay for the insurance, administered by the state, which provides income for employees when they are disabled, with benefits beginning on the eighth day of disability or if the person is hospitalized, on the first day of hospitalization. The program compensates all who are incapacitated with the exception of women during a pregnancy and 28 days after its termination. The constitutionality of the law was challenged by a group of women. In a 2-1 decision of a Federal District Court, the statute was held to be unconstitutional. Between the District Court ruling and the time when the Supreme Court ruled, the State of California decided to pay benefits to women who were disabled by complications arising from pregnancy. As a result, absence because of "normal' pregnancy and delivery was the only issue before the Supreme Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court, on June 17, 1974, reversed the District Court panel decision and held that the California law was constitutional. The 6-3 decision in Geduldig vs. Aiello (7EDP9432) said in part: "Particularly with respect to social welfare programs, so long as the line drawn by the State is rationally supportable, the courts will not interpose their judgment as to the appropriate stopping point. 'The Equal Protection Clause does not require that a state must choose between attacking every aspect of a problem or not attacking the problem at all.' (Dandridge vs. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 486-487, 1970.)"'
This decision is apt to have a far-reaching impact, but the extent of the impact is unclear because it involves only the Constitutionality of a State law establishing insurance programs for State employees.
Thus, the decisions fall on an issue-by-issue basis. The Iowa Commission rules on sex discrimination, promulgated in accordance with state law, stand unless challenged directly in the Courts.) (End of Author's note.)
As of June 30, 1974, two cases were pending on appeal in the district courts of Iowa.
Haile et. al. vs. Bon Aire Trailer
Court. Complainants, a Black male and his wife who is white, decided to
purchase a trailer in the Respondent's trailer court. The sellers, who were
white, sold the trailer to them, but the Respondent disapproved and forcibly
removed the trailer from the lot. The would-be sellers filed a Complaint
against the Respondent, too. A hearing was held by the Commission in the
fall of 1970. The Commission ruled in favor of the Complainants. The Respondent
appealed to the District Court. The appeal was dismissed subsequently for
lack of prosecution under Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure. The pending case
is a petition for enforcement of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission's Order.
Moore vs. City of Des Moines Police Department. (See above.)
If the Respondent, the Complainant
or the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is dissatisfied with the decision of
the District Court, that decision, pursuant to Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure,
may be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court. Five decisions by District Courts
were on appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court during the period from December
1, 1972 to June 30,1974.
CASES IN THE IOWA SUPREME COURT
As of June 30, 1974 two cases remained on the Supreme Court docket. Cases pending were Cedar Rapids School District vs. Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Joan Paar and Judy McCarthy et. al. and Iowa Civil Rights Commission and Heinen vs. Johnston Community School District. (See above.)
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on three cases as follows:
Peterson vs. Oxberger. A hearing was conducted by a Commission Hearing Examiner on December 7, 1970 on a complaint filed by Bhagwart Persaud against C. R. Peterson, alleging that he was being evicted from an apartment because of his race. The Commission Hearing Examiner found for the Complainant. The Order was served on the Respondent. Peterson filed a motion in District Court that the order be dismissed because the Commission had failed to act officially on the decision of the Hearing Examiner prior to the Order being served on Respondent. District Judge Oxberger remanded the matter to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to correct the procedural error. (A snow storm had prevented a quorum of Commission members in January, 1971 meeting.) Peterson appealed the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court which ruled that the Commission's grant of authority did not allow the procedure used and returned the case to the District Court for dismissal on March 28, 1973.
Iowa Civil Rights Commission vs. Massey Ferguson (5EPD8584). This decision of the Iowa Supreme Court on April 25, 1973 involved a matter which began on March 6 and 7, 1970. Zamora was discharged by Massey-Ferguson on March 6, 1970. On the next day he orally
reported to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission that he believed he was discharged because he was Mexican-American. Following a variety with the Massey-Ferguson representatives, of Commission conferences Zamora signed a written complaint on August 5, 1970 which was 152 days after the alleged discriminatory action. When conciliation efforts failed, a Hearing was held on April 22, 1971. On April 19, 1971 the Complainant and the Commission amended the complaint alleging discriminatory practices against persons of Mexican-American origin. The Commission found for the Complainant and issued an Order directing Massey- Ferguson to correct employment practices. Massey-Ferguson filed a petition in district court to dismiss the Commission Order on the grounds that the Complaint had not been filed within the required 90-day period. The District Court dismissed the Complaint. The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the District
Court, holding that the 90-day requirement was an absolute requirement in the law. (Note: The 90-day time requirement was extended by the 1974 legislature to permit filing of a complaint within 120 days from an alleged act of discrimination.)
Leo L. Griggs and Iowa Civil Rights
Commission vs. Wilson-Sinclair (7EPD9083-District Court Decision, 6EPD8839
Supreme Court Decision.) This ruling involved a Complaint filed by Griggs
on May 18, 1970 alleging that Wilson-Sinclair discriminated on the basis
of race through its testing procedure, in the selection of employees for
the all-white mechanical department. A requirement for entering the mechanical
department was the passage of three tests, of which
Griggs passed two, but was unable to achieve the requisite score on the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test. Mr. Griggs was the only Black person who had attempted to be promoted into the Mechanical Department of Wilson-Sinclair.
Following a hearing, the Commission, on October 7, 1971 found that the Respondent company discriminated in employment by the use of tests, and directed that, among other things, it discontinue the use of the tests. The Commission Order was appealed by Wilson-Sinclair. On June 13, 1972 the District Court reversed the Commission's Order and dismissed the Complaint, stating in the order that "the Bennett test is clearly related to job performance." The Commission appealed the District Court decision and the Iowa Supreme Court on September 19, 1973 upheld the District Court.
When the decision of the Commission
after a Public Hearing is not appealed or when the judicial process is complete,
the Commission proceeds to supervise the carrying out of the resulting order.
If an Order is not complied with, further enforcement processes are available,
leading in the final step to Contempt of Court penalties. The Orders which
the Commission has the obligation to supervise and enforce may carry over
from year to year and are a part of the continuing workload of the agency.
(On the following page is a statistical chart showing the action of cases during the reporting period.)