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FEDERAL EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY ACT The following comments are submitted on the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Act now pending before the special subcommittee of the Ilouse Committee on Education and Labor. These suggestions are offered in an effort to strengthen the bill in a manner which we believe will best fit it to accomplish its principal objective the elimination of employment discrimination because of race, color, religion, or national origin.

(1) We see no need for the proposed exemption of employers with fewer than 100 employees during the first year, 50 during the second, and 25 thereafter. if the act is to establish a national policy, it should apply without limitation based on size of the business establishment.

(2) The exemption of public employment agencies from the act would greatly reduce its effectiveness. Testimony taken during the hearings on the bill indicate that public employment agencies in some areas are among the worst offenders in continuing the practices of employment discrimination. By exempting them, the groundwork is laid for evasion by employers who may seek to avoid compliance with the law.

In the context of the bill and the testimony taken before the subcommittee, "public employment agencies” refer almost exclusively to the various State employment services.

Since these State employment services are financed 100 percent by the Federal Government, there can be no possible legal objection to regulation by the Federal Government. In providing such regulation Congress would be acting not only under its power to regulate interstate commerce, but in implementation of the 5th and 14th amendments.

Brown v. Board of Education, 317 U.S. 483, and subsequent cases leave no doubt that racial discrimination supported by State action is a denial of equal protection and unconstitutional. Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.C. 497, applied the same criteria to Federal action under the due process clause. Both prohibitions would be applicable to the activities of the State employment services, which are State operated and federally financed.

At least U.S. district court has so held in enjoining discrimination by the Kansas State Employment Service. Prior v. Poirer (Kan., 11/27/ 61).

That such discrimination is practices elsewhere has been convincingly documented by the report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. See the 1961 report of the Commission, volume 3, page 233.

Both the factual and the legal circumstances establish the case for amendment of the bill to include coverage of public employment agencies.

3. As now proposed, the bill would extend to some labor unions an exemption similar to that proposal for employers on the basis of the size of membership. We see no more justification for this than for the proposed employer exemption.

4. The bill as proposed departs from the more accepted approach to the problems of discrimination by adding the factors of age and sex.

While we are opposed to discrimination of any type, we feel that the problem of discrimination based on age and sex should be considered separately. To lump them into a bill directed principally against racial and religious discrimination could divert attention from the main objectives of the bill and lead to confusion among supporters and increased opposition to the passage of the legislation.

For many years civil rights supporters have been working to create a favorable climate for the enactment of national fair employment legislation. They have created a body of opinion supporting well-defined objectives in the area of employment and have secured the backing of numerous organizations for these objectives. To add other factors to proposed legislation at this time could disrupt the work and plans of many years standing.

Moreover, the problems of discrimination based on age and sex are so dissimilar to those of race, religion, color, or national origin as to be best treated separately. Increasingly, specialists are being trained to handle these problems and governmental bodies are being established to deal with them. It is our belief that these developments should be encouraged, but separately from fair employment programs.


5. It is respectfully urged that the section of the bill relating to advertising be couched in afirmative rather than negative terms. Thus, instead of merely a prohibition against discriminatory advertising, a requirement of advertising on a nondiscriminatory basis would be substituted.

Legal precedent for such a requirement could be found in the recent order of the Interstate Commerce Commission concerning prohibition of discrimination in interstate motor carrier transportation, 6 Race Relations Law Reporter, 902.

Under the ICC or:ler, bus carriers are required not only to follow a policy of nondiscrimination, but to so notify the public on tickets and by signs posted in buses and terminal facilities.

6. The bill should be clear on the authority of the proposed Commission to investigate on its own initiative not only on the basis of individual denials of rights but on the basis of patterns of discrimination. To this end it should be authorized to determine hiring practices by surveys, questionnaires, inspections, and other accepted methods of securing the required information.

It has been long recognized by those working on the problems of employment discrimination that reliance on the complaint system results in an inadequate remedy. Many of the most serious complaints are not resolved because the persons involved are fearful of reprisals or uninformed of their rights.

The complaint system never reaches the heart of the problem of discrimination, which is discrimination against a whole group or class of people. This can only be reached by a broad, companywide approach, supported by adequate inrestigative machinery and strong enforcement.

7. During the course of the hearings, considerable attention was devoted to the question of whether the proposed Commission would have the authority to make findings and enforce its recommendations, or whether these duties would be relegated to the courts after investigation by the Commission.

It is our belief that unless the Commission has the power to determine cases and enforce its decisions, the act will be extremely ineffective.

It has been the almost universal belief and practice that the type of proceeding here involved is an administrative one. The experience of State and local agencies operating in this area have confirmed this. Throwing this process into the alreadiy overcrowded Federal courts can only result in procedural strangulation and inordinate deliir.

The objections raised to granting enforcement powers to the proposed Comniission can only be those which have been raised against any type of administrative regulation of business. The experience of the National Labor Relations Board, the Interstate Commerce Commission, Federal Trade, Federal Power, and Federal Communications Commissions, and other regulatory agencies demonstrates that the administrative procedure is workable in the control of problems of interstate commerce.

Congress has provided under the Administrative Procedure Act protection for those persois subject to administrative regulation.

To single out fair employment legislation as requiring a different and more complicated procedure can only result in a less workable and effective type of enforcement than is provided under other Federal regulatory acts.

ī. An amendment to extend the authority of the Commission to employment training programs financed or otherwise assisted by the Federal Government would greatly strengthen this legislation. This could cover vocational and apprenticeship training, vocational rehabilitation, on-the-job training, retraining of displaced employees and any other program that has as its objective the placement of the trainee in useful employment.

As in the case of the employment services, the legal authority for this is clear. The Federal contribution to these programs is such that a denial of equal benefits based on racial, religious, color, or national origin considerations amounts to a denial of due process.

This has already been recognized by some Federal agencies, which have prohibited discrimination in some of the existing programs. For example, the offices: of Vocational Rehabilitation and Education have by regulation prohibited discrimination in vocational programs assisted by Federal funds. (45 C.F.R. 10218 and 01.1+ (2).)

Unfortunately these regulations are ineffective due to lack of enforcement machinery

The extension of the authority of the proposed Commission to include such programs would cure this deficiency in enforcement of existing regulations and would apply on a national basis the Federal program of nondiscrimination.


Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, AVC is an organization composed of veterans of the last three Wars. As members of the Armed Forces of this country, we fought to preserve the basic rights of our citizens. We believe that the way in which this Nation protects and advances the civil rights of all our people will greatly affect our national defense, our relations with our allies and friends throughout the world, and our national safety against totalitarian aggression.

Our national defense cannot be accomplished solely by building up our arsenal of guns, bombs, missiles, planes, and submarines. We must also have the support of freedom loving people, both here and ail over the world.

When we fail to protect the civil rights of our citizens, we hand to the skilled Russian propagandists one of their strongest weapons in this struggle for the minds and loyalty of men.

The legislation being considered by this subcommittee is therefore of vital importance, not merely to minority groups who are the victims of discriminatory employment practices, but also to our entire Nation.

The right to work is the right to live. Without adequate opportunity to earn decent wages and salaries, no person can get decent education, decent housing, adequate recreation, or other essentials of modern life.

Although there has been substantial progress in the past few years in reducing racial and religious discrimination, everyone knows that there are still vast amounts of discrimination in employment based on race, religion, color, national origin, or ancestry. Such discrimination is completely indefensible. It is immoral. It is contrary to our democratic institutions. It reduces our economic progress. It impedes our national defense. It harms our international relations. It is bad for our country.

Legislation to remove discrimination in employment is no longer a novel proposal. More than a score of States and many of the large cities in our Nation have already enacted such legislation. Over 70 million Americans now live in jurisdictions which are subject to such laws. The accumulated experience under these statutes and ordinances have proven that discrimination in employment can be effectively reduced through legislation, and that such legislation is widely accepted by the public, by management, and by labor.

Many State and local antidiscrimination commissions now operate under laws which emphasize conciliation and persuasion but have the ultimate sanction of legal enforcibility. Their quiet successes have shown that this is the best kind of leigslation for combatting organized discrimination in employment.

Discrimination in employment cannot, however, be eliminated solely through State and municipal laws. The ramifications and complexities of industrial employment, and the great impact of discriminatory employment practices upon the economy and well-being of our country, clearly require Federal legislation to apply to employers who engage in commerce across State lines or affect interstate commerce.

Federal legislation against discriminatory employment practices should deal not only with refusals to hire but also with underutilization of manpower, For example, there are many industries where Negroes are widely employed, but are relegated to menial tasks regardless of their training, experience, or potentialities.

The evil effects of such discrimination are enormous. It reduces earnings and productivity. Wage rates become depressed. As buying power is reduced, business and sales decline. Less tax revenue can be collected and the tax burden on the rest of the population is increased. Great amounts of talent and skills are wasted. Families are disrupted as wives and children go to work at unrewarding jobs to supplement meager family incomes. Children drop out of school and incentives for self improvement vanish.

In sum, discrimination is bad for the entire community, for business, and for the Nation.

We hope that this subcommittee will recommend legislation to establish a strong and vigorous equal employment opportunity commission to utilize the techniques of conciliation, persuasion, studies, investigations, and education efforts to combat discrimination in employment. In addition, the legislation should provide for civil enforcement by court order in those few cases where persuasion fails to obtain voluntary compliance from employers in ending discriminatory practices. Without the ultimate sanction of court enforcement, the other efforts of the Commission would operate like an automobile which has only half of its motor cylinders working—it would move, maybe, but not very well.

We believe that every employer should abide by the American principle of equal opportunity, irrespective of how many employees he has. It is important, however, to concentrate on the discriminatory practices prevalent among companies employing more than just a few persons. Accordingly, we would not object if the legislation proposed by this subcommittee restricts the operation of the Commission to employers having 25 or more employees.

There can be no question that this legislation is entirely within the constitutional power of Congress. It is similar to many other types of legislation which have outlawed discrimination against workers, such as the protective laws for women, the child-labor laws, wage and hour legislation, the national labor relations laws, etc. All of these laws were enacted despite the objection that they were contrary to the mores and traditions and prejudices of the people. Yet, such legislation changed those attitudes and mores.

Much of the discrimination that exists today continues through inertia. When the law establishes a policy of nondiscrimination, it will remove the fears, which some businessmen profess, of adverse customer reaction or exploitation by competitors, and will thus encourage employers to eliminate discriminatory practices voluntarily.

We hope that this subcommittee will promptly recommend enactment of a strong bill to assure equality of opportunity in employment for all Americans in every occupation subject to the legislative power of Congress. Thank you.


January 30, 1962. Hon. ADAM CLAYTON POWELL, Chairman, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Permit me take this occasion to express my support for the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Act as favorably reported by the Special Labor Subcommittee and now pending before your full committee.

Since I first came to the Congress in 1949 I have pressed for adoption of legislation to prohibit discriminatory employment practices based on a person's race, color, religion, or national origin. There can be no excuse for denying a fellow American a job because of the color of his skin, the place where he worships, or the country of his descent. Yet, unfortunately, millions do find job opportunities closed to them for these very reasons. This is a basic denial of freedom totally out of character in an open and free society.

There are those who argue that we cannot legislate against prejudice, that this is a matter that can only be corrected through the educational process. It is true that legislation won't remove prejudice from a person's mind, but it can and does stop discriminatory actions. Fair employment practices legislation has worked in countless cities and States—including my own home city of Minneapolis and State of Minnesota. And I am convinced it will work as well on the national level, too.

The fine work being done by the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity illustrates what can be done in this area. Much of the credit for the constructive work of this Committee goes to its Chairman, Vice President Lyndon Johnson. With a minimum of fanfare and through the use of good judgment and common sense the Vice President's Committee has made exceptional progress in the short period of its existence in eliminating discriminatory employment patterns both in and out of Government.

If we truly believe in liberty and in the dignity of man, then we as legislators have a duty to see that our Government assures each and every American that discriminatory employment practices will no longer be permitted to bar them from positions to which they are entitled on the basis of their abilities, training, and skills. The only valid test for employment in America is whether or not a person has the qualifications to perform a given job.

The legislation pending before your committee, and similar legislation which I have offered in the Senate, seeks to help bridge the gap between our stated American ideals and the shameful practice of discrimination in employment.

Your committee deserves to be commended for giving this bill its attention. I know of no bill before a congressional committee that is more important or more deserving of our support. Let me assure you of my wholehearted cooperation in pressing for enactment of this worthy measure. Best wishes. Sincerely yours,



Columbus, January 31, 1962.
Chairman, Special Subcommittee on Labor,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE ROOSEVELT: In 1959 the State of Ohio established an Ohio Civil Rights Commission in order to insure that fair employment practices would be granted to all our citizens. The authority of this commission was expanded in 1961 to include jurisdiction over public accommodations.

The law governing the establishment of the commission and its authority has been administered effectively and has been well received by the people of the State of Ohio. For these reasons I believe it is necessary that similar legislation in areas within Federal jurisdiction be enacted by the U.S. Congress to compliment our State legislation.

It is my understanding that the chairman of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission will furnish you with the specific comments of that commission regarding the proposed Federal legislation. Sincerely,


CITY OF PITTSBURGH, January 18, 1962. Hon. JAMES ROOSEVELT, Chairman, Special Committee on Labor, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. ROOSEVELT: The city of Pittsburgh has had an enforcible fair employment practices ordinance since 1952. We have found that this measure has been an effective means of bringing about an orderly change in employment practices to the benefit of business and industry as well as to mniority group individuals.

It is my understanding that your committee is now preparing a bill for introduction during the 2d session of the 87th Congress to prohibit discrimination in employment in certain cases because of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, or sex. Personally, and on behalf of my administration, I want to express hearty approval of this renewed effort to secure a long-awaited, urgently needed Federal fair employment law.

Members of my staff have had an opportunity to study the working draft of this bill. It is apparent that your committee has taken care to review the past experience of State and municipal commissions and this is reflected in the excellent provisions included in the bill. I am pleased that you have provided for cooperation with State and municipal agencies which also have enforcement powers for I beliere that this is the most effective way of dealing with the problem of discrimination.

Traditional patterns of exclusion of certain minorities from many categories in employment has deprived us of much needed manpower. It has also had a deleterious effect upon minority youth and resulted in lack of incentive to secure the needed education and to be good citizens generally.

Employment discrimination is part of a vicious cycle which leads to other forms of discrimination and segregation; therefore, elimination of employment discrimination is essential to the elimination of segregation in the United States.

It is my hope that this session of Congress will take affirmative action and enact this measure into law. Now is the time. Very truly yours,


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