Chicago Survey Finds Banks, Insurance Firms Practicing Job Bias

The Jewish Labor Committee of Chicago, citing survey findings of employment agency bias against Catholics, Negroes and Jews, today urged the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to investigate such discrimination in bank and insurance company employment.

The committee said that the survey showed these two types of business to be the “worst offenders, ” and that the federal agency should seek to learn whether, by underwriting deposits in banks, “it is not underwriting racial and religious bias.”

The survey was made by the Bureau of Jewish Employment Problems of Chicago, of which the committee was a founder. The bureau surveyed 2,289 job orders, received by two private job agencies from 2,000 business concerns in the Chicago area. The bureau also studied application blanks of 13 private employment agencies.

The bureau reported that, of 1,070 job orders of one agency, 155 or 14 percent were found to be biased. Of 1,219 orders from another agency, 34 or three percent were discriminatory, the committee said, adding that bias against Catholics, Negroes and Jews ran as high as 20 to 25 percent of all job orders at one agency.

The committee reported that requests were found for “Nordic only. ” “gentile. ” “Protestant only, ” with specific rejections of Negroes and Jews. The total effect was to bar Jews in 30 cases, Catholics in seven, and Negroes in 15. Another job agency was found to have 151 orders against Jews.

The committee said that 16 of the companies had contracts with either the federal or city governments, or both, and that they appeared to be “in violation of their contractual obligations to the federal government and city government of Chicago in their signed agreement promising to observe merit employment practice as an essential condition of the contracts. “

Another finding, the committee said, was that 10 of 13 private job agencies in downtown Chicago examined by the bureau used application forms containing discriminatory questions on religion, nationality or descent. The committee added that its annual conference on civil rights on November 17 would review the findings of the surveys.

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