Civil Rights Enforcement Efforts in North Dakota
Business Perspectives on Discrimination
Greater North Dakota Association
Anderson, president of the Greater North Dakota Association (GNDA), explained to
the North Dakota Advisory Committee that the association represents businesses
of all sizes and types throughout the State.
The GNDA is made up of a 25-member board of directors that researches issues in
the areas of taxation, human resources, and public policy. The association makes
recommendations, while the board of directors establishes policy. The
association, Mr. Anderson said, “is proactive and believes in providing equal
opportunity to employees without regard to age, sex, reproductive rights, race,
marital status, color, national origin, religion, disability, and military
The Greater North Dakota Association believes that research and access to the
most current information are essential for employers to provide equal employment
opportunities for employees. To that end, the association endorses and markets
resource materials that are helpful to employers in accomplishing those goals.
updated annually, that address employment discrimination, the Americans with
Disabilitie Act, and Federal employment laws and regulations and how to
comply with the laws.
human resources letter available to employers on a monthly basis containing
updates on new activities (Federal and State) and the most current
information about employment issues.
toll-free resources hotline to provide accurate answers to questions about
daily human resources issues, including discrimination.
conferences and seminars in conjunction with local chambers of commerce.
programs through an interactive on-line computer program.
Greater North Dakota Association over the past several years has also actively
participated in a program called Business Challenge, which focuses on work force
training, and is coordinated by the association, Dickinson State University, and
the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. The Greater North Dakota
Association has worked with over 6,000 students and educators, with more than 65
percent of the participants being women.
programs mentioned included the Job Training Partnership Act through the
Governor’s Employment Training Forum where the Greater North Dakota
Association focuses to develop an awareness of nontraditional opportunities for
women, literacy issues, apprenticeship, and school-to-work transition. Members
of the Governor’s ADA Consortium participate by making employers aware of the
opportunities through the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Anderson addressed the extent of discrimination in North Dakota by stating that
his organization has not conducted any surveys to measure the extent of
employment discrimination nor have complaints or acts of employment
discrimination been called to their attention.
He said the enforcement mechanisms—North Dakota Department of Labor, the EEOC,
district courts, and small claims courts—are “plenty” and there are
“adequate opportunities” for dealing with discrimination under current law
in the State.
North Dakota Association of Realtors
Lembke, executive vice president of the North Dakota Association of Realtors,
explained that the organization is a trade association with approximately 1,100
active licensees out of a roster of 1,500.
The Association of Realtors promotes equal opportunity in housing through
its code of ethics, which states that a Realtor can have nothing to do with any
plan or agreement to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex,
handicap, familial status, or natural origin with respect to any real estate
initiatives include the Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreement (VAMA) affirming
fairness, and Realtors are encouraged to display the VAMA at every opportunity.
The association also works to have a disclaimer published in newspapers
that states the newspaper will not knowingly print a discriminatory
Associated General Contractors of North Dakota
Peterson, executive vice president, Associated General Contractors (AGC) of
North Dakota, explained that the association is a trade organization
representing the general contracting industry in the State.
The organization strongly supports civil rights guaranteed by Federal and State
laws, which entitles all Americans to an equal opportunity to succeed without
regard to race, color, gender, religion, ethnic origin, age, or any disability.
AGC has recently sponsored various seminars, workshops, and programs geared at
attracting minorities and women into the industry, and has had some success from
time to time.
While the Associated General Contractors would agree that Federal and State
agencies must be diligent, it does not perceive a large or growing problem. In
recent years, AGC’s members have received few, if any, complaints of
employment discrimination. He said AGC does,
however, question many of the regulations implemented in the name of affirmative
action. These regulations, he said, are excessively complex and burdensome, and
in addition, they are far more focused on statistical results than on the basic
fairness to which the Nation aspires.
Mr. Peterson said, “Our members have felt regulatory and other pressures” which are often hidden from public view; and they feel that the government takes whatever steps necessary, “up to and including preferential treatment, to reach the raw results that the government likes to tout.” He said, “Government programs for minority and women business enterprises are equally, if not more troublesome. These programs do not only distort their ultimate objective, but also neglect the immediate need to increase the stability, financial strength, and competitiveness of these firms.” Every time an employment decision is made, AGC members must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Family Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Immigration Reform, National Labor Relations Act, and a host of others.
Dale Anderson, transcript of factfinding meeting conducted by the North
Dakota Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in
Bismarck, ND, May 16, 1996, p. 197 (hereafter cited as Transcript
Ibid., p. 198.
Ibid., pp. 198–200.
Ibid., p. 200.
Ibid., pp. 200–01.
Claus Lembke, Transcript 2, p.
234. Individuals join the association on a volunteer basis.
Ibid., p. 235. Cited from the North Dakota Association of Realtors code of
ethics, which originally was established in 1913.
Curt Peterson, Transcript 2, p.
202. The AGC includes heavy-type contracting firms that build highways and
commercial buildings. Ibid., p. 202.
Ibid., p. 205.
Ibid., p. 203.
Ibid., p. 204.