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N.Y. State Human Rights Office Backs ADL Charge of Bias

The New York State Division of Human Rights has hold there is valid basis for Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith charges that a division of the American Bureau of Shipping discriminated against two American Jewish applicant for engineering posts with ABS operations in Arab countries, the ADL said today. The Division of Human Rights will hold a public hearing if conciliation efforts with ABS fail.

In a “determination after investigation,” signed by Lillian H, Fennell, regional director, the Division of Human Rights said “there is probable cause” to believe that ABS Worldwide Technical Services “has engaged in or is engaging in the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of,” the ADL reported.

ADL had filed its complaint on July 21 in behalf of the two engineers, Erika Wagner of Manhattan and Leonard Messer of Elmont. Both had responded to classified advertisements for engineering posts in Iraq and Bahrein Island (In the Persian Gulf), Mrs. Wagner was turned down after she identified herself as a Jew. Messer was rejected because his wife is Jewish, even though she would not have been accompanying him overseas.

The ADL complaint, charging the ABS subsidiary with violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 11246, which prohibit American companies from discriminating in hiring on the basis of religion, national origin, race or sex, was also filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Maritime Administration.

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