Sears, Roebuck & Co. argued yesterday that it is up to the attorney general of the United States, not private employers, to make equal employment laws work.
The retail giant asked a federal judge to order the attorney general to resolve "the legal uncertainties and conflicts which surround the national effort to end employment discrimination."
Sears lobbed the bias ballgame into the attorney general's court in the latest round of warmups for multi-million-dollar discrimination case involving Sears.
Sears, which is expectred to be accused of job bias by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has sued 10 government agencies in an attempot to set aside existing EEOC regulations and head off the complaint.
The Department of Justice has sought to dismiss Sears' case, arguing that Sears in mounting a public relations campaign rather than a proper legal challenge to anti-discrimination laws.
Sears responded to the Justice Department yesterday with another blistering and well-publicized brief claiming that present anti-discrimination regulations are impossible to comply with.
Calling present federal job bias regulations "a jungle of conflicts" and a "political thicket," Sears attorney Charles Morgan said the courts have no power to order the attorney general to prune that foliage.
Sears contends the main reason its work force is predominately white and male is that past and present government policies created a work force giving white men advantages in competing for jobs.
A preliminary draft of the EEOC complaint against Sears, which is expected to be filed this summer, alleges that the company has discriminated against women, members of various minority groups and even short people in hiring and promoting.