In 1965, the Iowa
General Assembly adopted a Civil Rights Act and created the Civil Rights
Commission to administer the law which has as its stated purpose the elimination
of discrimination. The original law provided for eradication of discrimination
on the basis of race, creed, color, religion and national origin in employment
and public accommodations through a combination of investigative and educational
activities, and by the processing of complaints with respect to acts of
discrimination. In subsequent years, the legislative mandate has been expanded
to include discrimination in housing and credit, and discrimination on the
basis of sex, age, and disability. Each person in Iowa may be listed in
more than one of the categories and is protected, whether unfair or discriminatory
treatment arises because of his or her sex, his or her race or color, his
or her religion, and so on. The protection of the law is available equally
to persons who may merely pass through Iowa.
Civil rights law enforcement has become more and more complex over the years. The list of devices by which persons may be unfairly treated has become endless. The policies and practices of discrimination may be intentional or unintentional. The effect of an act, a policy, or a practice must be examined to determine if illegal discrimination has occurred or exists as an on-going, condition.
The courts have provided Civil Rights Law Enforcement Agencies with two definitions of discrimination. The factual testimonial and documentary evidence which is obtained during the investigation of each case is applied to these two definitions of discrimination. The first definition of discrimination is differential treatment. Differential treatment is shown where the facts indicate that the complainant or plaintiff has been treated in a different manner than the rules, regulations, or policies of the Respondent or defendent state, or that the Complainant is treated differently than individuals of another group in similar circumstances. The second definition of discrimination which has been given us by the judiciary in such cases as Griggs vs. Duke Power Company and Johnson vs. Pike Corporation is discrimination by effect. Discrimination by effect is also called systemic discrimination, institutional discrimination, and disparate treatment.
Discrimination by effect is any act or practice which has an adverse consequence impact on an individual or group within the protected classes when the act or practice does not have a valid business motive. In essence, this means that any act, practice, rule, regulation, or policy is discriminatory when it does the following: it produces a negative effect; it is not required for satisfactory job performance; and there is a suitable or reasonable alternative.
The legislative grant of authority
to the Commission falls into principle divisions--the Complaint process
by which the aggrieved may seek a remedy and the educational functions by
which discrimination is to be reduced or eliminated by sensitizing the public
to the causes and effects of discrimination. In addition, the Governor has
designated the Commission as the agency responsible for implementation or
supervising the implementation of his Executive Order No. 15 which pertains
to equal opportunity and affirmative action in all aspects of state government.
As the various duties are performed, the processes of the broad categories
of activity become inescapably related. For example, publicity about a Commission
Hearing on a specific complaint of discrimination serves to educate the
This report has been compiled as a summary and explanation of the Commission's continued activities between December 1, 1972 and June 30, 1974. The activity of this agency flows much as a river, continuous, moving always onward, with its source in the past, and subject not only to its own part and processes but also to the overall governmental structure, and the total reality of the state, the nation and the world.