"Study Using 'Testers' Finds Bias in Job Hunt"
     (c) BNA, Inc., Daily Labor Report, April 29, 1992

 TEXT:    Hispanic job seekers in the Washington, D.C.,
metropolitan area encounter discrimination based on their
ethnicity about one out of every five times they apply for a
job, according to a study based on the experience of Hispanic
and Anglo job testers applying for the same positions.

   The study by the Fair Employment Council of Greater
Washington, Inc., released April 28, tested 468 job vacancies
in a broad range of occupations and  found discrimination
against the Hispanic testers in 22.4 percent of the application
processes. Testers applied only for vacancies advertised in
newspapers or offered through employment agencies, which the
study says account  for about one-third of all job openings.

   Since the remaining two-thirds' job vacancies are advertised
in a more limited way, such as on-site postings or personal
contacts, the study "seriously undercounts the full extent of
discrimination affecting Latino job-seekers," according to
authors Marc Bendick Jr., a labor economist, and Charles W.
Jackson, director of operations for the council. "Thus, the
22.4 percent rate, which is based on relatively well-advertised
positions, no doubt underestimates the prevalence of
discrimination in the labor market as a whole."

   The Fair Employment Council, a civil rights advocacy group,
conducted the study in February and March 1992. In addition to
finding that Hispanics face discrimination over one-fifth of
the times they apply for a job, the study found that male
applicants in this group are more than twice as likely to
encounter discrimination as their female counterparts.

   It also found discrimination less likely to occur when the
positions are typically filled by college graduates, as opposed
to those filled by individuals with less education. In
addition, applicants were slightly more likely to be
discriminated against when applying for sales/service and
office positions, the  study said.

   The council's research comes close to a year after the Urban
Institute released a similar study in which paired sets of
black and white job testers applied for randomly selected,
entry-level jobs in Chicago and Washington, D.C.  That study
found that black applicants experienced discriminatory
practices almost three times as often as white applicants (94
DLR A-4, 5/15/91).

   The study comparing Latino and Anglo applicants confirms
that the use of testers "can be a powerful tool for eradicating
the discrimination that continues to sully American human
resources management in the 1990s," the authors said. "Similar
studies can focus on individual firms and industries," they
added, and "might enlighten human resource managers about
current practices of their own firms."

   Use of Testers Controversial

   While endorsed by the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, the use of testers in employment discrimination
suits is a controversial concept, with employer representatives
arguing that the practice amounts to deceit. The Fair
Employment Council last year used the experience of testers as
the basis for a race discrimination suit against a franchise of
the national personnel recruitment agency, Snelling & Snelling.

   The suit was challenged on grounds that neither the council
nor the testers involved had standing to sue under Title VII of
the 1964 Civil Rights Act since  they were not themselves the
victims of discrimination (134 DLR A-10, 7/12/91).  According
to a council spokesman, however, Judge Norma Johnson of the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled last
December that the council and testers have standing to proceed
with the suit.

(Copies of the study, Discrimination Against Latino Job
Applicants: A Controlled Experiment, can be obtained by
contacting the Fair Employment Council of Greater Washington,
Inc., 1400 I St., N.W., Suite 550, Washington, D.C. 20005;
(202) 842-4474.)