As the work of the Iowa Commission
is being reviewed,, it is useful to attain a perspective with respect to
progress by taking a brief look at similar agencies.
Title VII of the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act which established the EEOC took effect on July 1, 1965 -- the same point in time in which the Iowa Civil Rights chapter became law. Throughout the country, other state agencies were starting at about the same time. In a relatively few states, including New York, state agencies had been functioning previously. The state agencies and the federal agency do not all possess the same authority or comparative levels of funding on per capita basis. However, the problems encountered are consistent throughout the country. A common condition exists where agencies are authorized to process complaints. That is a growing case load.
In July, 1973, Thomas G. Cody, Executive Director of the EEOC, reported that EEOC had a 75,000 backlog of Complaints. That backlog increased to 90,000 by June, 1974. Cody projected a backlog of 250,000 by 1978 under current conditions.
Between 1961 and 1971, 2,671 cases were filed with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. A total of 1,794 new cases were filed in 1973 and 612 old cases were carried into the new year.
The Pennsylvania Commission received 1,383 new cases in 1973 and carried in 1,039 old cases.
In fiscal 1972, the Kansas Commission carried into the year 288 cases and 380 new cases were filed. In fiscal 1973, 432 old cases carried over and 437 new ones were filed.
On December 1, 1972, the backlog of the Iowa Commission included 532 cases. In the following 19 months 1,142 new cases were filed and on July 1, 1974 the Iowa Commission case backlog was 13038.
The patterns shown in these examples are similar for most agencies - sharp increases each year in case load, and accumulating backlog.
The law provides protection for all. Certain landmark decisions have involved white males. For instance, suits against airlines have resulted in a change of policy and practices with respect to cabin attendants. Instead of white "Miss America" types as stewardesses, men and minorities have become a part of the scene.
In the vast preponderance of cases,
however, the victims of discrimination have been minorities and women. The
pattern revealed in the Civil Rights agency statistics is likely to continue.
Historically, groups of people who try to change the systems which operate
in society to their disadvantage tend to use a variety of techniques to
attain desired goals. Resorting
to the 'due process'
of the law through the filing
of complaints with governmental agencies is only one method. More direct
methods have been used by groups, including protests, boycotts and strikes.
Minorities, women, and other groups can be expected to turn to other paths
if the governmental units do not operate as effective agents to reduce and
remove the artificial barriers to equality.
As a perspective to planning Civil Rights action in Iowa, a look at plans and change by other agencies is helpful. The mounting case load of the EEOC has been attacked in two ways by Congress. The grant of authority was expanded by the 1972 Amendments to Title VII. Under the original 1964 statute, the EEOC was limited to investigations, probable cause findings, and conciliation processes. If conciliation efforts failed, Complainants were advised of their right to sue in Federal Court, and if suits were filed, the EEOC would go into court as Amicus Curai, (friend of the court) and present briefs or written arguments on behalf of the Complainant. (In other words, until the 1972 Amendments to Title VII took effect, in a legal sense, the Iowa law was a stronger statute than Title VII. The 1972 amendments strengthened the enforcement machinery and processes of EEOC. Coverage was extended to smaller private employers and unions (from those of 25 or more employees or members to those of 15 or more), to employees of state and local governments, and to employees of both private and public educational institutions. Congress directed the EEOC to continue to try to eliminate discrimination by conciliation but if those efforts failed, EEOC is authorized to pursue a case directly in Federal Court.)
In addition, Congress dealt with the continuing existence of discrimination by providing a sharp increase in EEOC funds - a 50% increase for fiscal 1973 above 1972. The larger appropriation has permitted a major increase in the size of the legal staff. There was a time lag while the newly authorized staffing level was attained, but the number of law suits which are being filed in the Federal Courts in the first half of 1974 demonstrates the impact of increased funding on federal discrimination litigation. Other EEOC activities have been expanded as well. Educational efforts, such as technical assistance to organizations which wish to change policies and practices on a voluntary basis, are being increased.