Employment Opportunities for Minorities
Montgomery County, Ohio
Civil Rights Act of 1964
For many years in this country, discrimination in employment, education, and housing on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and gender was a legal and accepted practice. Gradually more and more individuals challenged the rights of property owners and employers to deny equal opportunity to all citizens. These protests eventually forged a coalition that resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made such actions illegal.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 establishes a specific prohibition against employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, and national origin. Under the act, discrimination on these grounds by employers who have 15 or more employees is prohibited in all aspects of the employment process, i.e., job applications, hiring, termination, promotions, training, wages and compensation, and all other terms or conditions of employment. Section 703(a) of title VII reads in part:
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer . . . to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
To enforce the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established and charged with the responsibility to investigate alleged and suspected acts of employment discrimination. The EEOC’s jurisdiction encompasses all government employers, including Federal, State, and local entities and their subunits, private employers, employment agencies, educational institutions, and labor organizations.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 only prohibits employment discrimination, i.e., different treatment to individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, and national origin who are otherwise qualified to perform the job. Equal employment opportunity is the affirmative practice of affording identical employment opportunities for similarly qualified individuals. Equal employment opportunity includes the practice of nondiscrimination in employment decisions in addition to deliberate, proactive efforts by employers to ensure that qualified minorities, women, and people with disabilities within the recruiting area are identified and offered opportunities to apply for available employment at all levels of the organization.
Equal employment opportunity efforts are formally set out in affirmative action programs. In recent years affirmative action programs have been established to identify, recruit, promote and/or retain qualified women, members of minority groups, and the people with disabilities in employment opportunities. These affirmative action programs are forms of deliberate outreach to formerly excluded segments of society, both to counteract the consequences of past discrimination and to ensure nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity in current practices.
The principal legal requirement of affirmative action in the employment sector for private employers at the Federal level is Executive Order 11246, as amended, first signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 and amended in 1967 to include gender as a protected status. Executive Order 11246 requires affirmative action for Federal contractors, and orders the inclusion of an equal opportunity clause in every contract with the Federal Government.
All Government contracting agencies shall include in every Government contract hereafter entered into the following provisions: During the performance of this contract, the contractor agrees as follows: (1) The contractor will . . . take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 similarly requires covered Federal contractors to engage in nondiscrimination and affirmative action for qualified “handicapped” individuals.
The affirmative action obligation on firms with Federal contracts is monitored by the Secretary of Labor through the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), U.S. Department of Labor. The OFCCP considers affirmative action as the deliberate effort by employers to eliminate existing barriers to equal employment opportunity, specifically:
[Affirmative action] is the set of positive steps that employers use to promote equal employment opportunity. . . . It refers to a process that requires a government contractor to examine and evaluate the total scope of its personnel practices for the purpose of identifying and correcting any barriers to equal employment opportunity.
Executive Order 11246, similar to other Presidential Executive orders, can be revoked, abrogated, or modified by the President, including Presidents subsequent to the incumbent issuing the order. Since the promulgation and amendment of Executive Order 11246, the order has remained in force, intact, and unmodified for 30 years through the Presidencies of Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and William Clinton. Similarly, the employer groups that addressed the Advisory Committee expressed their support for the affirmative action program under Executive Order 11246.
In recent years affirmative action programs, such as the one enforced by the OFCCP, have come under increasing criticism. Much of the criticism directed at affirmative action programs equates affirmative action with quotas and preferential treatment in order to obtain race and gender proportional representation in the work force. Affirmative action programs in employment, as enforced by the OFCCP, U.S. Department of Labor, are neither programs of preferential treatment, nor quotas, nor designed to artificially produce proportional representation. Affirmative action programs in the employment sector are constrained by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states in section 703, title VII, section (j):
Nothing contained in this title shall be interpreted to require any employer . . . to grant preferential treatment to any individual or to any group because of the race, color, religion, sex, or national origin of such individual or group on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of any race, color, religion, sex, or national origin employed by any employer.
Study on Equal Employment Opportunities for Minorities in Montgomery County, Ohio
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is charged with the duty to study and collect information relating to discrimination or a denial of equal protection of the laws under the Constitution because of race, religion, sex, age, disability, color, and national origin. The Commission is also to appraise Federal laws and policies with respect to discrimination or a denial of equal protection of the laws.
An Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has been established in each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia. Advisory Committees are to advise the Commission of all relevant information concerning their respective States on matters within the jurisdiction of the Commission, and receive reports, suggestions, and recommendations from individuals, public and private organizations, and public officials upon matters pertinent to inquiries conducted by the State Advisory Committee.
The Ohio Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is composed of 13 members. It is bipartisan, including representation from both political parties as well as the different geographic regions of the State. The Ohio Advisory Committee is also independent of any National, State, or local administration or policy group.
The purpose of the Advisory Committee study on “Employment Opportunities for Minorities in Montgomery County, Ohio” is to examine the employment practices of large public and private employers in order to ascertain the continuing existence, if any, of patterns and practices tending to exclude minorities from managerial and professional positions.
Design and Methodology of the Study
The study was designed to determine if there is a difference in minority employment between private employers and public employers. The study was limited to managerial and professional positions, because these are typically the highest paying and most prestigious employment positions, and to employers with employment of at least 1,000 individuals. If differences were found to exist between private employers and public employers, i.e., if minority employment in better paying jobs in the public sector were higher than minority employment in the private sector, this study aimed to determine the barriers that exist to minority equal employment opportunity in the private sector.
The methodology of the study had three parts. First, determine the status of race relations in Montgomery County, particularly as it relates to employment. A negative climate of race relations may play a role in impeding equal employment opportunity. Chapter 2 discusses race relations in Montgomery County.
Second, demographic data and employment data from public and private employers were analyzed for differences in employment opportunities for minorities between private sector employers and public sector employers. If a difference exists in minority employment rates between private and public employers, controlling for firm size and job types, then there is an inference of different employment opportunities for minorities in public sector jobs as opposed to private sector jobs. Chapter 3 contains the data analysis.
Third, in the course of the study testimony was collected from public sector and private sector employers about equal employment opportunity for minorities. A public factfinding meeting was held on June 11, 1998, in Dayton, Ohio, for the public receipt of information and to solicit specific organizational information on employment processes and procedures. The meeting was open to the public. Formal invitations were made to the largest public and private employers, as well as representatives from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, the OFCCP/U.S. Department of Labor, the National Conference for Community and Justice, the Dayton Urban League, the Dayton chapter of the NAACP, and the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Twelve of the largest private employers in Montgomery County invited to testify included the following: General Motors/Delphi Systems (20,000 employees), Mead Corporation (5,000 employees), NCR Corporation (3,500 employees), Lexis-Nexis (2,500 employees), Bank One-Dayton (2,050 employees), Reynolds + Reynolds (2,000 employees), Dayton Power and Light (2,000 employees), Monarch Marking Systems (1,500 employees), Cox-Ohio Publishing (1,400 employees), National City Bank (1,300 employees), and Standard Register (1,000 employees). The three public employers invited to testify included: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (23,000 employees), Montgomery County (4,750 employees), and the city of Dayton (3,000 employees). Chapter 4 presents the statements of the major employers regarding equal employment opportunities for minorities at their facilities in Montgomery County.
This report is a summary statement of the study and includes the findings and conclusions of the Ohio Advisory Committee. Pursuant to the purpose and responsibility of the Advisory Committee, the report is made available to the public, submitted to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for its consideration, and deposited to the Library of Congress in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
Pub. L. No. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. § 2000a et
seq. (1988 & Supp. 1994).
42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e–2000e-17 (1988 & Supp. 1994).
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 extended employment
discrimination protections to individuals with disabilities.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-4 (1988 & Supp. 1993).
Exec. Order No. 11246, 3 C.F.R. § 339 (1964–65) reprinted
in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e note (1988).
Exec. Order No. 11246, § 202, 3 C.F.R. 339 (1964–65), reprinted
as amended in 42 U.S.C. §
42 U.S.C. § 794 (1988).
The 1992 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act changed the terminology to
“qualified individuals with disabilities.”