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F.e.p.c. Laws with Teeth Cut Job Discrimination, A.d.l. Reports

October 21, 1955
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Fair employment practices laws with enforcement powers are the most effective means of breaking down racial and religious discrimination in employment, according to a report released today by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. This conclusion is based on a survey which shows “substantial decrease” in employment bias in New York and other states with fair employment practices commissions, as contrasted with non-FEPC states where “the incidence of job discrimination is still high in spite of full employment prosperity and the critical shortage of workers in many fields,”

The report was submitted to the League’s executive committee by Bernard Nath, its chairman, preliminary to a two-day annual meeting of that group which begins Saturday. Mr. Nath compared employment opportunities in the three largest areas of Jewish population in the nation–New York, Los Angeles and Chicago–to emphasize the impact of FEPC’s in diminishing job discrimination.

“The pioneering New York law, already ten years old, has proved itself successful,” Mr. Nath said. “We know this from ADL’s own files which show that the number of complaints received each year by the League’s New York office during the past decate has decreased more than ten-fold. In Los Angeles, however, tests conducted by the ADL regional office there indicate that conditions have not changed much in the post-war years.

He reported that the League in Los Angeles, acting for reputable business firms, placed a job order with 126 employment agencies for a “White, Protestant stenographer.” Only one agency rejected the discriminatory order. Four other agencies accepted “with some reluctance.” The remaining 121 agencies accepted it without question.

“These results are almost parallel to those of a similar test made in 1948,” Mr. Nath said. When the problem was discussed with the agencies, they justified their methods by saying they were only following the pattern long established as part of the business world.” It is pertinent to recall that ten years ago we heard the same kind of reasoning in New York,” Mr. Nath added. “But the educative value of this state’s fair employment practices law has quickly and profitably changed the pattern and the mores of employment in New York.”

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