Employment Discrimination

Ken Masugi's letter (July 12) ignores the practical problems involved in enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, sex, etc.

The court orders--to which Masugi, President Reagan and William Bradford Reynolds objected--were issued in cases in which the evidence showed, and the trial courts found, that the employer had systematically and intentionally violated the Civil Rights Act and, unless restrained by order of the court, was likely to continue to do so in the future.

The Congress and the President who enacted the Civil Rights Act, doubtless anticipating that such serious violations would occasionally occur, expressly empowered federal courts, in civil rights cases, to exercise the broad powers of courts of equity and to order such employers to take such reasonable steps as were necessary, in the court's opinion, to secure their compliance with the Civil Rights Act in the future.

Such orders imposed specific employment goals and practices on the offending employers while, at the same time, not making them so severe as to injure them or violate the civil rights of others seeking employment. The details vary from case to case, depending on the circumstances.

If Masugi, or anyone else, has specific proposals as to how enforcement orders can be improved I feel sure they will be considered.

The proposed wholesale revocation of outstanding and successful enforcement orders, as advocated by Masugi, Reagan, Reynolds and Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III--without providing for alternate and equally effective forms of enforcement--appear to be another effort to reduce the effective enforcement of the civil rights laws.



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