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ous platitudes, glittering generalities, and hollow pretensions, because we simply don't have the wherewithal, the muscle, the effective organizational strength and procedures to make this law work. I cannot overemphasize not only the necessity but the timeliness and the
urgency of giving your commission proper enforcement powers.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. Mr. Chairman, if I may just make one comment on Congressman Scheuer's statement, your statement underlines my reference in my prepared remarks that it is not only a problem of the aggrieved individual, but discrimination is also a problem which involves society, and that is why it is our belief that the Commission, a well as the individual, as it now stands in title VII, must have enforcement authority.
Mr. SCHEUER. There is an overall interest in society in seeing that this law does not become a mockery, and that the healthy integrity of our society, that which involves as its basic premise the equal opportunity for all to engage themselves to the fullest extent of their abilities and their potential be protected and enhanced. I just could not agree more with what you say. Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Dent?
Mr. DENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Roosevelt. First of all, I wish you luck in your good endeavors, because you have got a big job. It has taken many years to build up, and it will take a few years to undo some of the practices that have become commonplace in our employment practices.
However, when we first started out on this, I might say that I was one of the members who felt that perhaps at this time, with only a short period of time for the Commission to have the act under its jurisdiction and in force, that we ought to maybe wait awhile before we went into any drastic or any major changes.
However, as testimony has unfolded before us, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps some of the apparently glaring omissions, as it were, in the original act, ought to be corrected now, so that as you start out on your administration of this act, you ought to be fortified with the best thinking of the moment, and the most powerful weapons that we can give you. I believe that your testimony which clearly, in my opinion, states that there is a great deal of need for a strong enforcement policy, one of the suggestions made earlier by other witnesses, is that we ought to, from the very beginning, start out with the proposal that a lesser number of employees be used as the criterion for coverage by the act.
I believe the Social Security Act itself, in 1936, under your distinguished and well-beloved father, started out with the eight-man exemption for the greatest coverage, and the greatest step forward in a piece of legislation in the history of this Nation, or any nation. Certainly, if a man is entitled to protection for his welfare, his physical and personal welfare by unemployment compensation, workmen's compensation, and social security, when he gets a job, he certainly ought to be as entitled to the fundamental right of getting that job, with no arbitrary restrictions on him, except, for protection.
And I would suggest that you give some thinking to the problem, because one of the witnesses, I believe, Mr. Chairman, stated that it would make the job of administration so burdensome and you could not possibly get into administration of an act which would not give you the protection against the numerous complaints which, in fact, have been made, by limiting it to a hundred persons or less, or 25 persons or less.
I believe that this is not so, because any act becomes an act that is administrated by precedent. Although you may cover eight persons or more, the same type of violations will occur, and after you establish a ruling on a type of violation, it does not matter how many employees the employer has. Precedent would affect his conduct in the matter. I would like to suggest that you review and give to the committee, if you can, with the limited experience you have had in the administration of the law, a recommendation for you as to how many years we ought to employ in accelerating or decelerating numbers to where we go down to eight or more, or whatever figure you decide.
I think if you do that, it will be the biggest help that you can give this committee at this point, at this juncture.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. Mr. Dent, I have prepared for the committee a tabulation in various categories of both the number of employers that would be affected and the number of employees to be affected in these various categories. Mr. Chairman, is that table
Mr. ROOSEVELT. It was just handed to us. Without objection the table will be inserted at this point in the record.
(The document referred to follows:)
Approximate numbers of employers and employees covered by the act at each of
the specified employment levels 2
1 This information is based on the 1962 reports of the Social Security Administration. Numbers are rounded.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. Good. I would just like to point out that if you start with the over 100, which is our present jurisdiction, we will cover 58,000 employers and some 21 million employees. Now at the end of our first year, next July 2, under the present title VII, we would include all down to 75 employees, and that would add 25,000 companies, employers, and some 2 million employees.
And then the following year, we would cover an additional 40,000, and 2 million, 300,000 employees.
Now the Commission has given this some thought, but has not taken a fixed and firm position, and our recommendation is based also after some discussion with State agencies. The State agencies vary in their coverage, as you know. New York, for example. I believe, covers 50 employers or more.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. If I may make a correction, it is recently amended down to four.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. Yes. That amendment voes into effect on September 1, though. It was passed by the legislature but the effective date is September 1.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. Yes.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. I think that the State commissions would agree that as the Federal coverage came down, so will State legislatures move to bring their coverage into line with the Federal coverage. I think also they would agree that there might be some confusion if you immediately jumped down to a coverage of 8 or 10 and it is my personal suggestion that perhaps you might consider a two-stage jump. The first year going, keeping it at 100, the second year going down to 50, and the third year going down to 8 or 10.
This, I think, would provide an easier way for the Commission and for State agencies to keep themselves in line.
Mr. DENT. Thank you. I had already prepared a proposed amendment to the effect that we go from 100, skip the 75 drop, and go directly to 50. Then I thought we would go from 50 to 25, and then in the third year of operation, go down to meet the requirement of 8 or more. I think that you will have the groundwork laid by the decisions that are made that will ease the burden insofar as the numerical complaints are concerned. Most of these things fall into certain categories of discrimination, and we found, in fact, that the State of Illinois testified that in 5 years, they had something like 700 cases before it, in 5 years, which to my mind is not an exorbitant number of cases to review, and to adjudicate.
However, their position was that they believed that it would be possible to reduce the figure.
I am glad that the Chairman of the Commission has already given these figures, because I think this is one of the two major fields in which we may do something constructive at this time. I thank you very kindly, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Bell?
Mr. BELL. Mr. Chairman, I yield for one question to our friend from New York, Mr. Reid.
Mr. REID. I thank my distinguished colleague from California. Now Mr. Roosevelt, the distinguished chairman of this committee and I both have produced bills—H.R. 8998, H.R. 8999, and subsequently, H.R. 9061 and H.R. 9062—dealing with what I think is the priority question which you touch on at page 3 of your testimony in terms of stronger enforcement authority.
I note that Mr. Mitchell, on behalf of the NAACP, has made a clear statement to this point that the main deficiency of title VII is the weakness of its enforcement provisions, that George Fowler, chairman of the New York State Commission on Human Rights, made the same point yesterday, wherein he said that title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, without administering and enforcement machinery, will not and cannot be as effective as having the power to enter an en forcible order after hearing.
I think the title VII provisions that now pertain to this do not give equal employment opportunity commissions the necessary teeth. I would hope that as a matter of priority and urgency in this 1st session of the 89th Congress, we could report a bill that would have your support to give the commission power of administering and enforcement machinery, and cease-and-desist orders, returnable in courts.
Would you support that, sir?
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. That is the intention, certainly, of my statement, and the only caveat that I put in was that my support for giving the commission greater authority is not based on the commission's present experience, but is based on the record and the experience of these State agencies, and I referred to the experience of the State of Kansas, for example, where they had only conciliations authority for the first 8 years and found it ineffectual.
At the end of the 8 years, they then amended their State statute to provide cease-and-desist order powers, and it has been an effective commission ever since.
Mr. Reid. I might add very simply that I think that conclusion is entirely correct from my own experience as chairman of the New York State commission, and from the experience we derived from some 30 other commissioners throughout the United States, unless you have enforcement machinery, and cease-and-desist order power, the commission will lack the necessary tools to do the job the magnitude and the importance of the problem requires.
I thank the gentleman.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. I might add, Mr. Reid, that I am perhaps in the slightly embarrassing position of coming to the Congress having just assumed these responsibilities, and I don't want the Congress to think that I am presumptuous in immediately telling them that they did not give me enough. I frankly do think that we will need, to be effective, additional powers, but I want the Congress to understand that that suggestion is made with due respect to the position of the Congress that it has already taken.
Mr. Reid. Thank you, Mr. Roosevelt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BELL. Mr. Chairman, I would like to welcome you to the committee.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. Thank you, Mr. Bell.
Mr. BELL. My question is concerned with the on-going program that exists in the States that actually have good FEPC programs, such as New York, California, and others. I also want to refer to a session we had yesterday. One witness was a representative from the New York FEPC, and one was a representative from the Illinois FEPC. They felt that the States should not be excluded from acting, and their feeling and fear was that with the Federal Government through its commissions in a position to act, perhaps even in advance, it might tend to weaken their own State system, and they were fearful of this particular thing. Of course we know that in many other States, that is not a problem, but in States that are eífective, this is the one that concerns me, and I was wondering if you would like to comment on that?
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. Well, title VII now directs the Commission to defer. Now I want to point out, there is a distinction between, and I think that the proceedings of this committee have tended to blur the distinction between the words "defer" and "cede.” The present title VII directs us to defer to certain groups of State agencies, where they have sufficient authority.
We intend to defer to that group of States. We presently do not intend to defer to those few States that have only voluntary or conciliatory authority. Xor do we presently intend to defer to those States, which have criminal statutes, where the individual cannot get redress by actually getting the job he applies for. All he can do is bring a criminal action, and the defendant may be fined, if it is a misdemeanor, but he is not required to employ the individual aggrieved. So we don't intend now to defer to either the voluntary States or to the criminal statute States.
Mr. BELL. The only concern with me, Mr. Chairman, is the fact as you say, the bill to defer is pretty much in the hands of the Commission, and in some cases, probably not in your case but in some cases, there could be arbitrary action that maybe should not be necessary. Isn't this a possibility ?
I was wondering whether it would not be better to set up some kind of type of legislation, a type of law in all of the States, to limit the time?
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. Well, actually, Mr. Bell, title VII requires us to defer to this large number of States which have enforcement authority. For a period of 60 days. We of course will carry out that provision of title VII.
Now at the end of 60 days, there is some confusion among the States. There is nothing in the present title VII which removes the State from continuing its jurisdiction, but the complainant can come back to our Commission, and we can then take jurisdiction at the termination of the 60-day period, and commence our procedures.
At that point, the complainant would be under the jurisdiction of the State, as well as the Federal Government.
Mr. BELL. Thank you, I know the time is running out.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. I might just add to this, my impression of 9222 does not provide for us to defer to States, and I think
Mr. BELL. This is the crux that I was getting at.
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. I think 9222 should be amended to include this deferral to effective States.
Mr. BELL. This is the point I was getting at, and I am glad to hear you say that.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. May I ask at that point, when you say "effective” you mean in the judgment of the Commission?
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. No; as it is now in title VII, States which have enforcement powers.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. All States that have enforcement powers, whether they are effectively used or not?
Nr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. Oh, that is a very good question.
Mr. BELL. You are getting right to a point, there, the crux of it is whether the power should be left with the Commissioner, or whether we should write in the law to strengthen it specifically. I think that summarizes what the chairman was considering.
Mr. FRANKLIN. ROOSEVELT. Very frankly, I can conceive of a State which might pass what appears on the surface to be an effective law, and with a cease and desist order, and so forth and so on. On the other hand, the staffing of such a commission might prevent effective enforcement. I think that it would be preferable for the Commission to remain in a position where it is capable and authorized to decide the effectiveness of the work of the State commission, and not just be bound by what the effectiveness of the law says.
Mr. BELL. I think you are making a good point, except that I think you do run across the question, are we going to be governed by laws, or are we going to be governed by individuals
Mr. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. I would say there that simply the Federal law should give the Commission the right to decide whether the laws on the books of the State are being carried out.