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MPR’s Connie Goldman talks with Pat Huss, who discusses the results of Minnesota Public Interest Research Group survey on Twin Cities employment agencies.

The random telephone surveys involved a man and women, with the same qualifications, calling the same employment agencies, compare results of agency recommendations. Women would be asked if they would be getting married soon. Women were often told that the only work available was secretarial work, however, the men were never told about the secretarial work.


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PAT HUSS: Before they even found out what my name was, just because I happened to be a woman and was wearing a dress, they would say, are you interested in clerical work? Well, we'll hand you over to the woman or the counselor. She was always a woman, by the way, that takes care of women's jobs.

CONNIE GOLDMAN: Pat Huss related to me some details of the MPIRG's study that included random telephone surveys of 29 metropolitan employment agencies and a field survey of 22 of them. A man and a woman, both stating identical education and job qualifications, applied to the agencies and received vastly different consideration. The woman was not informed of the same job availabilities in most instances. And

10 of the agencies told the woman that clerical employment was the only available work, while this was never stated to the man. MPIRG's conclusion, it is quite clear that sex discrimination occurs daily as a matter of routine in employment agencies. It's unlawful and widespread. There's an interesting story on why these findings were released in their complete form today. Pat Huss explained.

PAT HUSS: The timing for the release of this report was made on this day because of a budget crisis that is occurring in the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. The city council has not appropriated enough money for the department to operate in such a way that they will be able to continue taking any complaints on sex discrimination. We felt that the results of the survey were so indicative that the laws in regard to sex discrimination are not being complied with, that it would be a perfect opportunity to show the city council that the department, in fact, does need much more money in order to see that the laws are obeyed. The city departments are the proper agencies to enforce the law.

CONNIE GOLDMAN: In an effort to remind the Minneapolis City Council that the Minneapolis department of civil rights must be financially sustained, Pat Huss made this statement.

PAT HUSS: In 95% of the interviews that were made, either the law was blatantly disregarded or subtly disregarded. They worked around it, but the results were-- we could see from the results that the women were treated differently or either the woman was treated in a much different way than the man. She was asked questions that she found repugnant, for example, are you going to be getting married soon?

No employer wants to hire some girl that's going to get married right away or get pregnant. Nobody's going to waste their money on somebody like that. Those kind of questions were asked. It was obvious that employment counselors and employment agencies either don't know what the laws are or do know what the laws are and are ignoring them. And it's also evident that many employment counselors are very insensitive to the needs of the people that come to them.

CONNIE GOLDMAN: The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group makes some strong recommendations that the employment agencies comply with the laws regarding sexual discrimination post-haste, that the licenses of those employment agencies and counselors who continue to discriminate be revoked, and that the owners of employment agencies be responsible for educating their employees concerning the laws prohibiting sexual discrimination and insist that the letter and the spirit of the law be obeyed. An MPIRG also hopes that the Minneapolis City Council will react to their report by continued financing of the Minnesota Department of Civil Rights. This is Connie Goldman.


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