Federal laws and regulations prohibit racial discrimination in the hiring process. State and local laws do the same. Agencies and officials at all levels are charged with enforcing these laws and holding employers accountable when they engage in racial discrimination in their job hiring practices. Those who experience such discrimination can file employment lawsuits to vindicate their rights. However, according to a new study, systemic racial discrimination in the job application and screening process remains a nagging and troubling problem

Researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research came to that conclusion after conducting an experiment in which they submitted over 83,000 fake job applications and resumes for entry-level positions at 108 of the nation’s largest employers. Everything on the resumes, such as experience and education, was equivalent, with the distinction that some of the applications included distinctively Black names like Leticia or Jamal while others contained more typically white names like Emily or Greg. The researchers found that applications that included distinctively Black names were approximately 10 percent less likely to get a call back from the employer than comparable applications that used white-sounding names.

The study also found that the racial discrimination by these large employers varied significantly, with about 20 percent of the studied companies accounting for approximately half of all discriminatory decisions against Black applicants. The worst offenders in the study were companies involved in the auto, retail, and food services industries, while engineering services, health services, and accommodations engaged in significantly less discrimination.

The new study’s authors said having fewer people responsible for contacting job applicants results in less racial discrimination when it comes to job applicants who receive a callback. But they cautioned “such changes may also simply postpone discrimination to a later stage of the hiring process.”

Have You Experienced Racial Discrimination in the Hiring Process? Call Sommers Schwartz Today. 

At Sommers Schwartz, we take all forms of workplace discrimination seriously. We aggressively pursue employment discrimination claims on behalf of workers subjected to such wrongful and illegal conduct. If you believe you were a victim of racial discrimination in the job hiring process, please contact Sommers Schwartz to speak with one of our employment law attorneys today. 

Tad T. Roumayah

View all posts by
Tad T. Roumayah

Tad Roumayah focuses his practice primarily on employment litigation, representing employees who have encountered discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge, whistleblower protection claims, wage and hour violations and other employment issues and disputes.