American Jewish Committee Reports on U.S. Action Against Bias in Jobs

The American Jewish Committee made public here today the contents of a complaint it had filed with U. S. Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz, protesting against religious discriminations by firms holding government contracts, on which Mr. Wirtz acted favorably this weekend. In his action, Mr. Wirtz assured the American Jewish Committee that the Government will make a greater effort to enforce Federal laws barring religious discrimination in employment.

The letter to Mr. Wirtz, sent by Burton A. Zorn, New York attorney and chairman of the AJC’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Committee, had insisted that firms holding Government contracts must end religious discriminations in filling top-management jobs, in compliance with the President’s executive order on that subject.

Mr. Zorn’s letter summarized research sponsored by the American Jewish Committee over a period of years on the subject of “executive suite” discrimination in American business and industry. This research had revealed that Jews fill less than 1 percent of top-management jobs in representative samples of major corporations, even though Jews account for 8 percent of all college graduates and the executive talent pool consists essentially of college graduates.

A recent study by Harvard Business School of recruiting practices, sponsored by the AJC and quoted in the complaint, showed that 80 of 300 companies studied hired only Protestant students on college campuses, excluding Catholic and Jewish students with more or less equal capabilities and potentialities. A University of Michigan report on discrimination in promotion practices found that “every serious effort to collect data on this subject has yielded the same general conclusion.”

Mr. Zorn declared today; “We were very pleased to learn of Secretary Wirtz’s deep interest and real concern for the problem presented to him. Top executive posts in business and industry today constitute almost the only sector of American industrial life from which religious and ethnic minorities remain substantially excluded.”

NEXT STORY