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Employment Discrimination Blog

Thursday, August 8, 2019

New Study Examines the Impact of Being a Minority Applicant on Employment Rates

Why Do U.S. Employers Tend to Discriminate Against Latino Male Applicants?


With Latino migrants flocking to the United States and Spain, a new study set out to examine whether potential employees experienced discrimination due to their status as a minority.  This novel study reached some alarming conclusions that highlight the ongoing employment discrimination experienced by Latino migrants both in the U.S. and in Spain. Our Atlanta employment discrimination lawyers explain the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies published study and its implications on our understanding of employment discrimination below.

Discrimination Against Latino Applicants in the U.S. and Spain

A group of researchers set out to study employment bias during 2017 and 2018. In a study published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, researchers explain that they sent out hundreds of job applications from invented candidates to real job vacancies. Half of the applications were sent by U.S. born, white candidates (or Spanish born for the applications sent to Spain), and the other half were made to represent Latino job applicants. The applicant’s minority status was made clear by their name and reference within their resume to their country of origin. Researchers then studied the response to the applications.

The study found that in the U.S., only Latino men were discriminated against. Latino men were 13 percent less likely to receive a positive result than white male applicants. In contrast, in Spain, only Latino women were discriminated against. Latino women were 12 percent less likely to receive a call back then Spanish born women.

In an attempt to evaluate whether minority stereotypes influenced the employers, researchers added a second component. Researchers found that in the media in the U.S., Latino men are portrayed often as aggressive or threatening, while in Spain, Latina women are often seen as unskilled workers. Researchers sent out some applications that highlighted Latino males’ friendly personality. With this information, the employer discrimination disappeared. For Latinas in Spain, researchers included information as to the applicant’s high levels of competence.  However, in this case, the discrimination did not disappear. 

Minority applicants should be aware of this study, as should employers. Employers should examine their employment policies and perhaps unacknowledged biases, while applicants should take care to craft their resume to avoid bias. Minority employees should be aware of the signs of discrimination and engage the help of a lawyer if they feel their rights have been infringed.

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