Business feels the heat
of U. S. antibias laws
Hitachi Consumer Products of America,
a producer of color TVs in Compton,
Calif., miu* 1979, is joining a |fro*iii)i
list of Japanese-owmnJ companies accused of violating T. S. federal e^ja!
employment opportunity laws. On the
strength of six individual complaints j
lodged against Hitachi, the California -
Fair Employment & Housing Dept. on *
Oct. 16 charged the company with dis- J
criminating against blacks and other ■
non-Asians. Because the company's 300-
person work force is about 50% Asian
and 25% black in a city that is 75%
black and 1.7% Asian, state officials
want to determine if a "broad pattern of
discrimination" exists at the plant.
At Hitachi, officials are refusing to
discuss the investigation or a possible
out-of-court settlement. But Hitachi is
not the first Japanese company to run
afoul of Title VII of the 1964 Civil
Rights Act. Other current cases involve
such well-known names as Sumitomo
Corp. and C. Itoh & Co. And the issue is
so timely that two San Francisco attorneys, Bruce A. Nelson and E. Anthony
Zaloom, recently visited Japan and lectured to more than 100 Japanese businessmen on equal employment opportunity laws in the U. S. "The unwary (Japanese] manager may violate these laws
just by doing what comes naturally,"
Nelson observes. "Certain employment
practices that are standard in most of
the world—especially the relegation of
women to subordinate roles—are illegal
in the U. S."
Th« 1953 treaty. In Japan, managers are
almost always male. In the U. S.. this
practice is frequently denounced as sex
discrimination. In defending their right
to import managers from home, Japanese companies have pointed to a 1953
trade agreement that stipulates that
Japanese companies can hire executives,
technical experts, and other specialists
"of their choice." What has remained
uncertain is whether this treaty excuses
Japanese companies from abiding by the
same equal employment opportunity
laws that govern U. S. companies.
That point, however, should be clarified soon. On Nov. 2, the U. S. Supreme
Court announced that it would rule on
the issue in a class action case brought
against Sumitomo America Inc. in New
York. Female secretarial employees
charge that Sumitomo's practice of hiring only male Japanese nationals for
management-level jobs discriminates
against them. Previously, a court of appeals held that the 1953 treaty does not
exempt Japanese businesses in the U. S
from antidiscrimination laws.
But in a similar Texas case against C.
Itoh, another appeals court, held that the
treaty d(x?s permit discrimination in fa-
vor of Japanese citizens—at least for
executive and technical positions. However, American employees who sued the
company recently had their request for a
rehearing of the case accepted by the
same court. So C. Itoh now is in a legal
situation where it has nothing to gain—
and something to lo9e—from a reexamination of its employment policies. ■
58 BUSINESS WEEK: November 23. 1081
A&M gay recognition
By DENISE RICHTER
After a four-year battle, the Cav Student Service. Organization Monday will appear in a Houston court again seeking
Texas A&M University is the defendant in the civil triaj
which will be set during a Monday morning docket call in the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Houston Division.
W_ re on the docket and well probably go to triaj that
afternoon."' defense lawyer jenny Graffeo said. "We're not
certain about (the trial date) but we re preparing for it as if we
go on trial Monday."
Texas A6cM applied for a continuance in the trial several
weeks ago, a motion which was not opposed by the GSSO.
However, US. District Judge Ross N. Sterling, who will
preside during the trial, denied this motion.
Representing Te*a« A&M in addition to Craffeo will be
Lonnie Zwiener and Ann JCraatz, assistant attorneys general;
Jamn B Bond. v*c« chancellor for legal affair*; and Ted
Patrick Wiseman, of the Nelson and Mallett law firm in
Houston, will represent the GSSO.
Defendants cited In the case are: Dr. John }. Koldus, vice
president for student services; the late Jack JO Williams,
former president of Texas A&M; Clyde Freeman, executive
vice president, and the Texas A&M System Board of Regents,
individually and as representatives of the University.
The plaintiffs. Michael Minton, Keith Stewart and Patricia
Woodridge, were members of the GSSO when the original
federal civil rights suit was filed in 1977.
The organization requested official University recognition
in April 1976, a request which was denied the following
In November 1976, Koldus stated the University s position
in a letter to the CSSO explaining the reasons for the refusal.
In the letter he said according to Texas A&M regulations
the University can only recognize organizations whose goals
are consistent with the philosophy and goals of Texas A&M.
The CSSO conflicts w»th those goals, Koldus said.
* Homosexual conduct is illegal in Texas. ' the letter said.
and, therefore, it would be roost inappropriate for a state
institution officially to support a student organization which is
likely to Incite, promote and result in acts contrary to and in
violation of the Penal Code of the State of Texas."
Koldus said another reason for denying recognition is that
the group wanted to provide services to students, including
referrals, educational information and speakers.
"Student organizations do not have the educational experience, the responsibility nor the authority to educate the
larger public, the letter said. The responsibility for the
education of the students at Texas A&M resides by law with
the University administrative staff and faculty."
The CSSO filed a civil rights suit against the University
Feb. 2S, 1977. The suit stated denial of recognition forced the
group to find off-campus meeting sites which was expensive
and Limited the number of persons who could attend meetings.
The organization also sought damages to compensate for
the lack of recognition and to cover court costs and legal fees.
On March 22, 1977, the Board of Regents said they would
"proceed in every legal way'' to keep gay groups "from orga-.
nizina or operating on this or any other campus for which this
Board ts responsible."
The University argued that it could not be sued for money
damages and in November 1977, Judae Sterling dismissed
the case. However, in February 1980, the 5th U.S. Circuit
Court <A Appeals set aside the federal court decision.
The appeals court cited a 1978 Supreme Court ruling
which stated that local governing bodies could be sued for
money damages under federal civil rights laws.
Local governing bodies include universities, the court
Texas A&M appealed this ruling to the U.S. Supreme
Court in March 1980, arguing that the appeals court decision
was in error and conflicted with other rulings.
Lawyers argued that if Texas A&M — "which has no existence independent of the state" — can be sued under a federal
civil rights law, then any other agencies of the state of Texas
could be subject to the same type of suit.
On Dec. 8. 1980. the Supreme Court refused to hear Texas
A&Ms appeal. This action meant that the case finally could be
heard on its merits in federal district court in Houston.
Church of England votes
to allow female deacons
LONDON i AP) — Leaders of the Church of England
who oppose ordaining women to the priesthood, decided
that women may become deacons — members of a holy
order without the full authority of priests.
Deacons are allowed to perform all the duties of a
clergyman below the rank of pnest. They can conduct
weddings and funerals but cannot celebrate Holy Communion nor administer blessings and absolution.
The decision was made Thursday by an overwhelming
show of hands at a London session of the church's
general synod, a leadership council of bishops, clergy
and lay members.
Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie supported
the move and said the position of deacon could be kept
separate from ordination to the priesthood, a pressing
question throughout the 65 million-member Anglican
Some provinces, such as the Episcopal Church in the
United States, ordain women as priests, but the majority do not — for reasons that are mainly biblical-histori- %
cal and theological.
Besides male deacons, the church has 320
"deaconesses," — laywomen not admitted to holy
orders but allowed to assist at services. The rank of
"deaconess,' which is not a female deacon, will remain.
Church sources said a major reason for Thursday's
decision to admit women to the diaconate was the difficulty of finding enough male priests in England — and
the enthusiasm and dedication of the deaconesses.
The Rt. Rev. Maurice Wood, Bishop of Norwich, said
the issues of women deacons and women priests were
separate, adding that some people fear "that if we
agree this then we are doing something toward the
debate for women priests."
Canon Frank Telfer, who favors ordination of women
as priests, opposed the change, saying: "We cannot
separate it from the wide issue of the admission of
women to holy orders. I just hope that women will have
the courage to refuse this spurious offer and go for the
Due to time pressures and technical
problems, we were unable to print
the second part of the Lavender
Menace. If you would like to see
the remainder of the article in
the newsletter or receive a copy,
please call me at 521-282^.
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