Racial discrimination prevents Black workers and other workers of color from reaching their full labor market potential. Although discrimination in employment is illegal, it is a common practice in many workplaces. Companies are also increasingly relying on temporary staffing agencies to cut labor costs. Black workers seeking work through staffing agencies report being consistently passed over for work assignments, yet documenting systemic discrimination in temporary staffing requires rigorous investigative methods, such as matched-pair testing.
A research team led by the National Legal Advocacy Network, the Equal Rights Center, and Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants will conduct matched-pair testing at staffing agencies that place temporary workers in the light industrial sector, in which workers process and ship a range of consumer goods in factories and warehouses. This method for documenting discriminatory hiring practices was piloted in Illinois, and the research team aims to scale this approach to select staffing agencies nationwide. This research aims to generate evidence of potentially discriminatory practices by staffing agencies and host companies, promote better enforcement of antidiscrimination laws, and shed light on the experiences of temporary workers, a particularly vulnerable population in the labor market.