The chairman of the Greater Boston Committee On Racial Equality (CORE) denied yesterday that his group possesses definitive evidence that the Harvard Trust Company discriminates against Negroes in its hiring practices. He added however, that Harvard Trust was one of "a large number of companies" in the Boston area whose employment practices CORE is investigating.
Alan Gartner, who is also national treasurer of the civil rights organization said that the Harvard Trust first became suspect when no CORE official "could recall having seen a Negro in a customer-contact position in a Cambridge bank."
He added that CORE has long been interested in securing jobs for Negroes in so-called "high visibility" or "prestige" positions.
There are many ways of investigating a company, as CORE is now studying Harvard Trust, to discern whether it discriminates against Negro job applicants. The first way, Gartner said, is just to look, but that technique often is inconclusive. As a second step CORE often contacts local leaders, such as ministers and politicians, for their advice. If these methods prove insufficient, CORE will then "test" the company by sending both white and Negro applicants for the same job.
If discrimination is still suspected, Gartner said, CORE seeks an exploratory meeting with company officials to gather more information and then makes a decision on future action. If it decides to proceed further CORE presents the company with its demands at a second meeting. Direct action in the form of picketing, or selective patronage, follows only if the demands for employing more Negroes are not met.
A particularly difficult case is the company that claims if does not employ Negroes because it does not receive any Negro applicants, Gartner noted. In some cases this is a legitimate position, and the company does not show any blas in its hiring.
In other cases, companies do not receive applications from Negroes because a long standing policy of exclusion has frustrated Negro job seekers, and convinced them that an application would be a waste of time. In such instances, Gartner said, it is a legitimate request to ask companies to actively seek Negro employees who otherwise would never apply.