NEW YORK (Jul. 16)
The New York State Commission Against Discrimination announced today it would file an appeal to a higher court against a ruling by Supreme Court Justice Henry Epstein barring the Arabian-Aramican Oil Company from asking about the religion of job applicants.
Elmer A. Carter, chairman of SCAD, in announcing that his agency would appeal, said that the decision of SCAD permitting ARAMCO to make applicants state their religion “is an application of the consistent view of this agency first made in connection with Saudi Arabia in 1950. This ruling held that in matters affecting the national security, SCAD will be guided by statements of the Federal Government as to the best interests of the United States. “
Justice Epstein, who had ruled on an appeal by the American Jewish Congress from the SCAD ruling, said in his decision he had ordered SCAD to end immediately its “bona fide” occupational exemption for ARAMCO from the New York Fair Employment Law, Judge Epstein called the ruling by SCAD “arbitrary, capricious and without basis in fact or law. The discrimination practiced by ARAMCO in New York State must cease and it is the duty of the commission to see that it does,” he specified.
The SCAD notice of intention to appeal challenged Justice Epstein’s contention that there was no basis in United States policy for the exemption. Mr. Carter declared in his statement today that the disputed ruling was in line with a judgment that “when a job applicant must travel to a foreign country to perform a job, SCAD will permit the employer to determine whether the applicant can satisfy the entrance requirements as a prerequisite.”
The American Jewish Congress issued a statement hailing Justice Epstein’s decision “as demonstrating once again the vital role of our American courts in upholding the civil rights and civil liberties of American citizens. ” It said that “the opinion of Justice Epstein will long be remembered as establishing that the onward movement in this country to strike down all barriers on grounds of race, religion or national origin will not be stemmed or reversed, either in obeisance to Arab dictators or to the fancied notions of the requirements of American foreign policy.”