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OVERSIGHT ON FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT OF EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY LAWS

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1978

House of REPRESENTATIVES, SUBCOMMITTEE on EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, CoMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR, Washington, D.C.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 9:30 a.m., in room 2261, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Augustus F. Hawkins (chairman of the subcommittee) #. Members present: Representatives Hawkins and Weiss. Staff present: Susan Grayson, staff director; Darryl Fagin, legislative assistant; Carole Schanzer, administrative assistant to subcommittee; Barbara Melhsack, majority associate counsel; and James M. Stephens, minority assistant labor counsel. Mr. HAwkINs. The Subcommittee on Employment Opportunities of the Committee on Education and Labor is called to order. The hearing this morning is a continuation of the oversight hearings of the subcommittee on the subject of Federal enforcement of equal employment opportunity laws. We will hear this morning from a number of interest groups with respect to this subject. The first scheduled witness is Mr. Joel G. Contreras, Director of the Employment Litigation, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, San Francisco, Calif. Mr. Contreras, we are pleased to welcome you before the committee this morning. We recognize the contribution that the fund has made to the work of the subcommittee and I am quite sure that your testimony will be part of that contribution and continuation of the very excellent contribution that the organization has made. On that note, we welcome you. We have your prepared testimony which, without objection, will be entered into the record in its entirety and you may proceed to deal with it as you so desire. [The prepared testimony of Joel Contreras follows:]

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The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) welcomes this opportunity to comment on the progress made in equal employment opportunity enforcement before this Committee, MALDEF 'is a national, non-profit, non-partisan legal organization established to protect and advance the civil rights of Mexican Americans. Since its formation, MALDEF has actively challenged practices which deny equal employment opportunity to Mexican Americans. The federal courts have recognized that familiar patterns of unlawful employment discrimination have been applied to Mexican Americans as well as other minorities and females. Espinoza v. Farah Mfg. Co., Inc., 414 U.S. 86 (1973); Alaniz v. California Processors, Inc.,

572 F.2d 657 (9th Cir. 1977), cert denied,

U.S.

(1978);

International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. United States, 431

U.S. 324 (1977); United States v. City of Chicago, 549 F.2d

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415 (7th Cir. 1977); and Otero v. Mesa Valley School District No, 51, 568 F.2d 1312 (10th Cir. 1977).

MALDEF has dedicated a substantial portion of its

resources and energies to seek legal enforcement of the civil

rights statutes to secure equal employment opportunity.

Our organization has had a special concern and relationship with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission through the years. MALDEF in the past has been one of the legal organizations which implemented the EEOC

Private Bar program in project locations in the Southwest

locations. We have maintained a solid professional relationship during a period when the development of Title VII litigation has been all too slow and difficult to implement.

Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978

MALDEF testified in support of the Reorganization Plan No. 1 because, in our view, it represented the greatest potential for accomplishing the necessary goals. However, we cautioned that only future performance will establish the success of this Proposal. We suggested that timely evaluations be made to insure that the program is being implemented. The concerns we expressed were shared by numerous other organizations--both private and public--which provided testimony. This hearing is an essential part of the process we collectively seek to bring us closer to effective enforcement of the equal employment opportunity laws.

MALDEF specifically identified six basic functional responsibilities for evaluation of the federal agencies involved: Administration, Investigation, compliance, Enforcement, Litigation, and Research. We continue to believe that these are the critical functions for this Committee to review regarding the EEOC's enforcement capability and the

new reorganization authority.

Administration The importance of the leadership function cannot be overemphasized. The EEOC now has its full complement of five Commissioners. However, we do not believe that the situation has changed significantly with respect to the lack of Hispanics in the highest levels of administration of the EEOC. This concern, was expressed in the hearings before the Congress on the Reorganization plan by Mr. Raul Yzaguirre, National Director of the National Council of La Raza. The testimony presented showed that out of 111 positions GS-15 to 17, only 9 were filled by Hispanics. This situation must be changed if there is to be effective participation and

support from the Hispanic communities.

Investigation
The authority of the EEOC to investigate charges of

employment discrimination is the essential role performed by

the agency. This has been recognized by the Courts and by the

Congress. The Staff Report on Oversight Investigation of
Federal Enforcement of Equal Employment Opportunity Laws
December 1976, specifically identified this role:

Investigation
Once a charge has been accepted for pro-

cessing, it is then investigated to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the alleged violation is true. The investigation is the heart of the compliance process; it is also the most time consuming aspect of compliance efforts and the greatest bottleneck in the processing of charges. In its recent survey of pre-1974 backlogged charges, EEOC found that over 60 percent of the charges were awaiting investigation. Although we are familiar with the general charge resolution success reported by the EEOC under the new rapid charge processing methods, we have not seen any information that demonstrates substantial improvement in the number and quality of investigations. “We urge this Committee to secure and evaluate this information. The importance of the investigation to the private bar is manifold. It saves time, effort, and money for both the attorney and client. Without an investigation, the private party is forced to proceed through expensive litigation to determine whether the facts are there to support the case. We believe this can and should be done by the EEOC. We note that at least two suits were brought by private parties to secure investigations (one challenged dismissal of charges under the backlog procedures in effect). The

suits were dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which

relief could be granted, their importance to this Committee

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