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STATEMENT OF ALFRED E. COWLES, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, nial imp
WASHINGTON STATE BOARD AGAINST DISCRIMINATION, ACCOM-
and the age Mr. Cowles. The board against discrimination in the State of
de other Washington was established in 1949. We have powers to prevent discrimination in the area of employment and also public accommoda
vurd's cea tions.
strongly When the board receives a complaint of discrimination in employment the case is referred to one of our field representatives who conducts an investigation.
If we find that reasonable cause is there to substantiate the fact that discrimination has taken place, then our staff commences the
les your conciliation process. We try to arrive at a mutually satisfactory conclusion of the case through the conciliation process.
ECOND If, however, the conciliation attempts do not resolve the issue, the chairman of the board is empowered to appoint a tribunal, a tribunal of five citizens whose job it is to hear the case in a public manner, in
with di front of the press and so on. If, after the hearing, the tribunal finds that the aggrieved person
s have has indeed engaged in an unfair practice, he then orders a cease-anddesist order and orders that affirmative action take place to resolve the complaint. The order, however, is appealable to the State superior court and
Senato ultimately to the State supreme court. The board against discrimination has had experience in administering a human rights law that
cual li gives the cease-and-desist power over certain kinds of ethnic discrimination but we do not have cease-and-desist power over other kinds of discrimination. Our experience in administering this law convinces us that the
Nr. power to issue cease-and-desist orders is essential to the effectiveness of our work. This is not because it takes a cease-and-desist order to
Sena eliminate discriminatory practices.
Mr. In fact only 1 percent of the cases that our board has processed have gone to the hearing. All the rest have been settled through conciliation or have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or because no reasonable cause has been found after the investigation.
The value of the power to issue cease-and-desist orders lies more in the fact that it is there rather than the fact that we use it. The simple
do presence of the power to go to a hearing makes the charged party much more willing to conciliate with our board staff and it makes the negotiations much more successful.
The result is usually a settlement that is acceptable to both sides.
Now in concluding" let me say this: I do not want to create the impression that the possibility of an adversary hearing puts pressure on the charged party only. It is often said that when a case goes to court everyone loses.
This is especially true in the human rights area. So far as the complainant is concerned, if he does not get speedy relief he gets no relief at all, and the hearings take up a good deal of time.
So far as the State agency is concerned, a hearing often consumes in amount of manpower
money that seems unjustified in terms of
the practical impact of the particular case on the elimination and prevention to discrimination generally.
In recent years my staff has avoided hearing on all but a few cases and at the same time has settled cases on conciliated terms that eliminate and prevent discrimination and that are viewed as fair by both board and the aggrieved parties.
On the other hand, we have little success in appealing to the better natures of persons whose ethnic discrimination does not come within our board's cease-and-desist power. We strongly support legislation to give to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the Federal Government adjudicatory power over complaints like that power now possessed by the Washington State Board Against Discrimination. Senator CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Cowles. Does your Commission have jurisdiction over discrimination in employment? Mr. Cowles. Yes, it does.
Senator CLARK. What are the principal areas in which you have to deal with discrimination in employment, particularly with respect to kinds of employment and the characteristics of the aggrieved parties?
Mr. COWLES. We have power with respect to employers generally who have eight or more employees, labor unions, and employment agencies. The aggrieved parties are multiracial and we have American Indians, orientals, and 15,000 American Negroes in the State of Washington.
Senator CLARK. About how many complaints have you had on an annual basis; last year, for example?
Mr. Cowles. Last year we had 100 formal complaints and 200 informal complaints.
Senator CLARK. All except one I think you said were resolved by l'econciliation ?
Mr. Cowles. That is right.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE S. PFAUS, DIRECTOR, NEW JERSEY
DIVISION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
Mr. Praus. The New Jersey law against discrimination was first adopted in 1945 and in the beginning provided for coverage only in the area of employment. Since then it has been amended many times.
We now cover places of public accommodations and housing. The law definitely has the provision for cease-and-desist orders enforceable in the courts for all types of complaints and for orders that result after conciliation which we call a consent order and decree or for inclusion in orders which result when conciliation is not successful from holding of public hearings by a hearing examiner and regular staff procedure.
I would like to place all my emphasis on the desirability of having provided for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the authority for cease-and-desist orders. There are three short paragraphs I would like to read which emphasize that.
Provision for enforceable cease-and-desist orders is of paramount importance. In an order against any specific respondent it serves, in
a negative way, as a constant prod against repetition of the same kind of discriminatory practice against which the order was issued.
Of even greater value is its use as a foundation for securing the adoption and carrying out of programs of broad affirmative action.
The cease-and-desist provisions of an order, coupled with an intelligently aggressive approach by the agency staff, almost always result in the adoption by the respondent-employer of improved methods of recruiting, testing, selection, placement, training, upgrading, and all the other components of a set of personnel practices that truly can provide equal opportunity for all persons without any form of active or passive discrimination.
Without this cease-and-desist foundation in the order only an enlightened employer will undertake equal employment affirmative action programs. Such an employer will do this, anyway, without the necessity of any kind of order.
When the enforcement agency has the authority to issue cease-anddesist orders all employers are much more amenable to a persuasive approach aimed at voluntary adoption of affirmative action policies and programs, even without complaints being processed against them. Employers are susceptible to the potential of an order containing cease-and-desist provisions.
The mere presence in the statute of this provision makes possible a wholesale approach to the problem of discrimination in employment. The total effect of such an approach, over even a small period of time, would far exceed the results of the retail program of righting the wrongs contained in the individual complaints filed with and processed by the agency.
In New Jersey, we want the statutory authority for the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to be as strong as possible, and certainly to be as strong as the provisions of our own law for our own division. We are not in any way jealous of the Federal agency, but consider it a very valuable partner in this vitally necessary crusade to eliminate all forms of discrimination in our State and throughout the country.
The deferral program, which is continued in S. 1308, has worked splendidly and without a single hitch as far as New Jersey is concerned. In dealing with employer respondents we have found that the existence of the Federal statute and the EEOC has given us two strong assists. One is the simple implication that the Feds will get you if we don't.
The other is that all our respondents competitors face the same compliance requirements as he does, either from State laws and
agencies in States which have agencies similar to our own or from the EEOC in the other States.
Senator CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Pfaus.
Mr. Praus. The total was 800; of these approximately 40 percent were in the employment coverage.
Senator CLARK. Of that 40 percent in how many instances roughly did you find the complaint was justified?
Mr. PFAUS. Roughly not quite half. The balance, we made a finding of no probable cause.
Senator CLARK. Do you have a provision against discrimination on grounds of sex?
Mr. Praus. No; we have age but we do not have sex.
Mr. Praus. At least 90 percent of the complaints are Negroes. There is a small percentage, maybe 3 or 4 percent, who are Puerto Ricans.
Senator CLARK. The fact that you had 800 complaints last year would seem to indicate that New Jersey has not completely solved the problem of discrimination in employment ? Mr. Pfaus. That would be the understatement of the year, Senator. Senator CLARK. Thank you very much, sir. Miss Withey? STATEMENT OF MISS ANNA WITHEY, GENERAL COUNSEL,
NEW YORK CITY COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Miss WITHEY. Mr. Chairman, prior to January 1966 the city commission did not have any enforcement power on the question of employment. After January 1, 1966, the New York State Legislature gave the city commission concurrent jurisdiction with the New York State commission.
Since that time we have been entertaining complaints of that nature. During the last year we have had some 125 complaints in the field of employment. We still have pending of those 125, some 45. About 30 percent were properly settled and the others are still being processed.
We have about five cases that are pending in the New York State Supreme Court at this particular time. However, our last revision in the law does give us full authority to issue cease-and-desist orders and we also have a great deal of teeth in our law with reference to enforce
We also have the right to go in and get a restraining order in the event the respondent would be doing something which would render an order of the commission ineffectual.
The city law is also subject to a judicial review. In addition there is a penal provision which may be exercised against any person who does willfully violate an order of the commission. Such person being guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or by a fine of not more than $500 or both.
It has been our experience during the past year, however, that a strong enforcement law has enabled the commission to secure more jobs for both Negroes and Puerto Ricans. During the year 1966 the commission embarked upon a program to open up jobs to Negroes and Puerto Ricans and other members of minority groups. Our
agency gave this top priority. We confronted contractors that were doing business with the city and insisted that they prove that their work force were integrated.
Jobs were obtained for minority group workers in 10 major firms in which the commission was concerned, during this year there was a total of 858 jobs. In each company the number of such employees on the roles when the commission staff made its initial check was exceedingly small in proportion to the firms total work force.
For example, one firm with a work force of 2,500 originally hired Negroes and Puerto Ricans at the rate of 5 percent is now hiring at the rate of 20 percent.
Senator CLARK. I want to ask you whether the tight labor market has anything to do with that?
Miss WITHEY. I think it might have a great deal to do with it. But you have to consider all the circumstances together.
Senator CLARK. Do you think that it also evidences a more cooperative effort ?
Miss WITHEY. I think cooperation is very important, too.
Miss WITHEY, I think that the fact that we have teeth in the law, persons do not want to tackle this, to tangle with the law. They also know that it is the right and proper thing to do. All these factors help to make compliance.
Senator CLARK. I am sure that is true but I am wondering whether you think over the period of your experience on the city commission that the general situation with respect to discrimination in employment has improved.
Miss WITHEY. I would say that it has improved somewhat; yes.
Senator CLARK. Senator Javits, who could not be here, advises me that the New York City Commission is in the process of preparing a study of discrimination in employment in the building trades.
He would like to have a copy of that study submitted to this subcommittee when it is completed.
When do you expect to have this finished ?
Miss WITHEY. I expect that the report will be released within the next 2 weeks.
Senator CLARK. Would you be kind enough to send us a copy for inclusion in the record ?
Miss WITHEY. I would be very glad to, yes.
Senator CLARK. At Senator Javits' request when the report is received it will be printed in the record at the end of the testimony of this panel.
(At the time this hearing went to press the material referred to had not been received by the subcommittee.)
Miss WITHEY. I believe that a law which conciliates but does not compel cannot work. Conciliation works best when compulsion is waiting in the wings. It is my belief that the settlement is an object lesson, a strong law is likely to deter violators and encourage compliance.
A weak one promises the opposite effect. I know that in the past year in the field of discrimination in housing we have been able to settle more cases than we had prior to the time that we had teeth in our law, the right to issue orders and the right to go into court and enforce these orders. We have been able to settle on an average of four out of every five complaints that have come by getting the compliance.
Senator CLARK. Do you have a backlog of undisposed complaints?