Vanderbilt Law Review


Arnold H. Sutin

First Page



Passage of the new federal civil rights law in 1964 might have been expected to decrease the importance of the state fair employment practices (FEP) laws. Congress, however, chose not merely to permit these laws to continue in force to deal with purely local problems,but went further to entrust the primary administration of title VII, the federal fair employment statute, to state agencies where they exist. Thus the experience of these state agencies is of even greater importance now than formerly, for they will perform the day to day work of carrying out our nation's policy to prohibit discrimination in the labor market.

Are the state commissions ready and able to take on this responsibility? Have they demonstrated the imaginative determination that is going to be required? Are they equipped with adequate powers to achieve meaningful results? Or are these commissions too encumbered by inadequate statutory authorization, inertia, political debts, and timidity to be effective? These questions suggest the importance of examining the experience of the state commissions since they first began to appear at the end of World War II.