Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman Gilbert Casellas last month
Rowe, the director of the EEOC's Chicago district office, as acting general counsel for the
agency. An EEOC spokeswoman praised Mr. Rowe for sharing a common vision with Mr.
Casellas and cited the Chicago EEOC's frequent pattern-and-practice discrimination lawsuits, as
the Daily Labor Report noted. The administration is appointing a commission to study the future
of affirmative action. But the Clintonites' evident approval for Mr. Rowe and his Chicago
operations says a lot more about their attitude toward quotas than any white paper ever will.
Despite several trouncings of the agency by federal judges, the EEOC office
in Chicago continues
suing area businesses over almost any procedure that results in an "inappropriate" number of
minority employees. It spent seven years suing Consolidated Services Co., a janitorial service
owned by Koreans. Federal Judge Richard Posner noted in a 1993 decision: "There is no direct
evidence of discrimination. . . . Mr. Hwang relies on word of mouth to obtain employees rather
than reaching out to a broader community less heavily Korean. It is the cheapest method of
recruitment. . . . Hwang did buy newspaper advertisements on three occasions . . . but these ads
resulted in zero hires. . . . The EEOC was unable . . . to find a single person out of the 99 rejected
non-Koreans who could show that he or she was interested in a job that Mr. Hwang ever hired for."
Judge Posner concluded, "It would be a bitter irony if the federal agency
dedicated to enforcing
the antidiscrimination laws succeeded in using those laws to kick [immigrants] off the ladder by
compelling them to institute costly systems of hiring."
Bruce Spitzer, the lawyer for Consolidated Services, observed that the EEOC
demanded that the
firm pay $475,000 in "back pay" primarily to people who never worked for the company as a
penalty for its alleged discrimination. The EEOC reached that sum simply by calculating that,
since 95% of laborers in Chicago are non-Asians, Consolidated was guilty of discrimination
whenever its workforce was more than 5% Korean. The EEOC assumed that the fact that the
company's employees were almost all Korean proved its guilt, according to Mr. Spitzer.
The EEOC spent six years hounding Chicago Miniature Lamp Works because, according
EEOC's bogus computer model, the company had a shortage of blacks on its payroll. Yet, the
company hired a higher percentage of black applicants than white applicants. A federal appeals
court concluded in 1991, "It is clear that Miniature was held liable because there were relatively
few blacks in its applicant pool as compared to the number of entry-level black workers in
Chicago." Yet, the factory was in a Hispanic and Asian part of Chicago, and the judges, in
rejecting the EEOC's claims, concluded that relative commuting distance was too important to be ignored.
The EEOC sued Daniel Lamp Co. in 1991 for allegedly discriminating against
company was in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago and relied on Hispanic organizations to refer
job-seekers. All of the company's 26 employees were either black or Hispanic. The EEOC ran a
computer test, compared Daniel Lamp to much larger employers within a three-mile radius and
informed the company that it was guilty of breaking federal law because it did not have 8.45 black
employees. The EEOC also based its lawsuit on the complaint of one black woman who applied
but was not hired.
The EEOC ordered the company to pay the woman back wages of $340 -- and also
to find other blacks who might not have applied for work there and to pay them $123,000 for
back pay for work they never did. EEOC officials publicly asserted that Daniel Lamp had refused
to hire any blacks, but "60 Minutes" investigated and found that during the time that the EEOC
said Daniel Lamp was discriminating, the company had actually hired 11 black employees. The
company eventually settled the EEOC's lawsuit by agreeing to pay $8,000 a year for three years
into a settlement fund.
The commission is currently trying to fry Koch Poultry Co. for hiring too many
Hispanics and not
Mark Kaminsky, the Chicago-based chicken company's chief financial officer,
EEOC's demands to Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko: "They told us that we were
supposed to take out newspaper ads that asked for people who might have applied for a job, or if
they were thinking about applying with us, so they might be entitled to a financial settlement.
They said they wanted $5.2 million. They never put that in writing, but the EEOC investigator
spelled it out for us. Of course, the entire company isn't worth that much, so we told them no
way, we can't afford it." The EEOC has since reduced its settlement demand to $800,000.
Mr. Kaminsky told me on March 27 that EEOC officials really don't have any
whom the company supposedly discriminated against. "It is like being guilty by association --
since you have all these Hispanics, you must have discriminated," he said. The company has spent
about $250,000 defending itself so far.
The EEOC devastated O&G Spring & Wire Forms Specialty Co., a Chicago
metal- forming shop
started by Ted Grzeszkiewicz, who immigrated to the U.S. from communist Poland. O&G hired
mostly Polish immigrants who spoke no English, as well as many Hispanics, and had roughly 50
workers. The EEOC investigated the company and found it guilty of discriminating against blacks
between 1979 and 1985. Based on the EEOC's analysis of the Chicago labor market, 22% of
O&G's labor force should have been black. At trial, the EEOC could not produce one black
witness who had applied to fill a job vacancy at the company.
Yet, federal Judge Harry Leinenweber found the company guilty. He ordered the
company to pay
$8,000 for EEOC newspaper ads inviting blacks to file a claim for benefits regardless of whether
they'd ever applied for a job at O&G; 451 responded to the ad.
The EEOC made no attempt to check any of the claims for fraud -- some of the
claimed to have been victims of discrimination were apparently in prison at the time (and thus
could not possibly have worked at the company), as federal appeals Judge Daniel Manion noted in
October 1994. Yet, as long as they were black, that was enough for the EEOC to classify them as
Judge Manion, dissenting on an appeals court decision that upheld the lower
declared: "The facts of this case demonstrate that the EEOC not only neglected its responsibility,
it abused its power." Judge Manion noted that the EEOC's "statistical model was more than
unscientific, it was completely misleading" and "borders on bad faith." He also noted that at least
one person who the EEOC claimed had filed a formal statement alleging discrimination denied
ever making such a complaint.
How ironic that a man like Mr. Grzeszkiewicz, who escaped from a communist
order to breathe the air of freedom, should have seen practically the entire net worth of his
business destroyed by the costs of an abusive federal prosecution. The EEOC is now using the
precedent to bring other federal cases against employers around the country.
Deval Patrick, assistant attorney general for civil rights, declared last September
that the word
"quota" is merely "a derisive and divisive term . . . used to try to discredit civil rights
enforcement." Yet, Judge Leinenweber, adopting language almost verbatim from the EEOC brief,
ruled in the O&G case that "gross disparities between an employer's applicant flow, hiring or
work force and its relevant labor market show the existence of discriminatory employment
practices." Thus, a mere shortage of properly pigmented job applicants is enough to turn a
business into a criminal enterprise.
Simply because a judge or a bureaucrat does not whisper the word "quota"
when he holds his
statistical gun to a businessman's head does not change the nature of the government's coercion.
The Republican congressional leadership must find the courage to confront, expose and shut
down the EEOC's quota machine.
Mr. Bovard writes often on public policy.
(See related letter: "Letters to the Editor: Our Noble Mission Is Still Viable" -- WSJ May 16, 1995)
5/16/95 Wall St. J. A19
1995 WL-WSJ 8714612
The Wall Street Journal
Copyright (c) 1995, Dow Jones & Co., Inc.
Tuesday, May 16, 1995
Letters to the Editor: Our Noble Mission Is Still Viable
Opponents of the active enforcement of our civil rights laws for some time
have sought to brand
nearly all antidiscrimination efforts with the "quota" label. A recent example is James Bovard's
April 27 editorial-page piece "The Latest EEOC Quota Madness." As chairman of the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), I must set the record straight. Mr. Bovard's case
is both weak and misinformed. His argument apparently is based on the erroneous notion that the
use of statistical evidence in discrimination cases -- something that has been approved by the
courts for many years -- is tantamount to the imposition of quotas. As a matter of fact and law,
this is not true.
Furthermore, Mr. Bovard discusses only five cases of the hundreds of thousands
that have been
filed with the commission over the past decade. His premise that these five cases suggest a general
EEOC enforcement policy that cares only about numbers and abstract statistics without regard for
legitimate business interests is without basis. Moreover, he leaps to the conclusion that this
alleged abusive and overbearing policy is enforced wholeheartedly by the "Clintonites."
Unfortunately, in his zeal to criticize President Clinton, Mr. Bovard conveniently ignores the fact
that four out of the five allegedly "abusive" lawsuits were approved by EEOC commissioners
appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush, including Clarence Thomas, with the fifth dating back
to the Carter administration. I did not vote on any of these cases, nor did either of my two
colleagues appointed by President Clinton.
That said, after carefully reviewing our files on these cases, I can state
with certainty that they
were not frivolous or abusive. Not one of them involved a quota. There was no hiring by the
numbers, no demand to bring in unqualified workers, and no effort to achieve racial balance. Of
the five, two were resolved favorably and one is still pending, and of the two we lost, we received
a favorable ruling at the district-court level only to be overturned on appeal. Furthermore, I am
particularly bothered by Mr. Bovard's vilification of the EEOC's Chicago District Office, which
received the underlying charges and was responsible for the lawsuits. The Chicago office has an
admirable enforcement record, having obtained more than $100 million in relief during the past
five years for real victims of discrimination.
In his effort to stoke the fires of the current national debate over affirmative
action, Mr. Bovard
fails to acknowledge either the extraordinary challenges facing the commission or the monumental
changes we "Clintonites" have made in the past six months to fundamentally reform the way the
agency operates. We have made enormous strides in reversing the course of the EEOC, including
rescission of a number of enforcement policies adopted in the 1980s that contributed in great part
to the administrative bottleneck. Just two weeks ago, by unanimous commission vote at a public
meeting, we adopted priority case handling to allow our staff appropriate discretion in
determining which cases merit our time and resources and which should be dismissed early on.
Furthermore, last week we unanimously adopted a position supporting the use of mediation-based
alternative dispute resolution in our administrative process. And we have taken all of these steps
only after making our best efforts to consult with and be responsive to our many constituencies --
employee groups, the civil rights community and business. While these actions may not sound
revolutionary, I can assure you they illustrate profound changes in the way this agency will
operate in the future.
More than 30 years ago, the EEOC was created and charged with a noble mission
-- to eradicate
unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, despite what many would like to believe,
employment discrimination continues as a widespread and pernicious problem. The almost
100,000 employment discrimination charges we receive annually provide abundant testimony of
the extent of the problem.
Gilbert F. Casellas
(See related letter: "Letters to the Editor: He Says It's Not So, Therefore
It Isn't" -- WSJ May 26,
The Wall Street Journal
Copyright (c) 1995, Dow Jones & Co., Inc.
Friday, May 26, 1995
Letters to the Editor: He Says It's Not So, Therefore It Isn't
Regarding the May 16 Letter from Gilbert F. Casellas, chairman of the Equal
Opportunity Commission, "Our Noble Mission Is Still Viable": The only thing viable in Mr.
Casellas's response to James Bovard's April 27 editorial-page article, "The Latest EEOC Quota
Madness," was the clarity of how badly he and the Clintonites miss the point. He cites areas to
refute, then simply avoids presenting any refutation in the way of facts. His logic is based on
denial of the premise, not providing information to the contrary. The cases cited from the Chicago
EEOC office were examples of extortion, duly noted by Mr. Casellas's gleeful accounting
"[EEOC] having obtained more than $100 million in relief during the past five years. . . ."
He further stated, regarding the Chicago cases: "Not one of them involved
a quota." The
dictionary calls quota "the share or proportional part of the total which belongs to a group" and
seems exactly what was ripped from the hapless businesses in Chicago.
I suggest Mr. Casellas and the Clintonites alike wake up and look at their
extortion for what it is,
and spend less of their time formulating editorial responses without anything but circular logic.
Scott G. Howard
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