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Labor Department Aide Says Action Planned Against Executive Level Discrimination

A group of 75 top executives of leading American corporations has been told by a Government official that the Labor Department was planning a series of “positive actions” to combat problems of religious discrimination against Jews and Catholics in executive level positions.

John L. Wilkes, deputy assistant secretary for contract compliance and director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, addressed the group at a dinner meeting of the National Advisory Committee on the Executive Suite, representing the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Occupational Council. The executives were invited to the meeting by the AJ Committee and the Occupational Council.

Mr. Wilkes listed several plans for action by the Labor Department. He said a new directive on religious discrimination will be issued emphasizing the Administration’s commitment in this area; the department is considering establishment of an advisory committee on religious discrimination at the executive level; it plans to issue guidelines against such discrimination for contractors and sub-contractors covered by an Executive order which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin where ever government funds are involved; and it plans the wider use of a questionnaire to aid in focusing on problems of religious discrimination in several industries.

Mr. Wilkes said, “Many people don’t even realize that this kind of bias exists. But the figures show differently. We don’t believe in quotas, but when we look at the figures…they don’t fit with the statistics.”

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