U.S. District Judge Harold H. Greene yesterday upheld a government ban on contracts to Uniroyal, Inc., because the firm had refused to cooperate fully in a federal investigation of its alleged sex bias.
The ruling reversed an earlier, temporary order in Uniroyal's favor by Judge Green that had kept the debarment from taking effect while further legal arguments were made.
Yesterday, Greene said the government had the right to invoke the ban for several reasons, among them the history of presidential decrees against discrimination of any type.
". . .It is evident that this policy and program would be nothing more than an empty shell, an abstract statement of principles, unless it is backed by adequate means of enforcement," Green said.
He said Uniroyal's "obdurate refusal to permit adequate inspection" of its records in a government bias investigation left the government and him "no choice" but to cut off its government contracts. $ the case has has a long and complicated history before even reaching this stage with Greeen. Uniroyal is one of the largest rubber manufacturers in the U.S., and has several million dollars of government contracts yearly. In 1976, a complant was filed against the firm under the presidential executive order prohibiting discrimination by government contractors.
As the Labor Department's inquiry into that complaint progresses, Uniroyal Uniroyal began balking at various requests information and filed an eventually unsuccessful suit in Indiana challenging those requests.
Meanwhile, the government continued its adminstrative investigation and asked the hearing officer in that matter to debar Uniroyal because of its conduct. The hearing officer ruled in the government's favor and Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall issued the debarment order on June 28 of this year.
Uniroyal then filed the suit before Judge Green, claiming the government had no power under a presidential directive to require them to submit documents for inspection and that, if the government had that power, it could not halt a firm's government contracts because it disobeyed an order to turn over records.
Uniroyal lost on both counts before Green. He pointed out that the presidential directive was designed to provide a speedy method of redressing discrimination in the $100 billion of government contracts issues annually.
Green said all that Uniroyal had to do to get out from under the debarment order is to comply with the government requests. Uniroyal asked late yesterday for a stay of Greene's order, and he gave them until next Thursday to file an appeal.