Check Sting Activity To See If Chipotle Hiring Can Be Racist

On paper, Antwan Braxton seems like a strong candidate for the general manager position at Chipotle, especially when compared to a candidate named Neil Klein.

Braxton’s application requires a superintendent of one year more experience than Klein. He touted his ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification and Quarterly Award Manager at his latest job — Klein failed to do so.

However, after 12 Chipotle job applications were submitted under each name in a three-day period in February in the same Missouri area code, Klein was sent an email, a voicemail, by Tex-Mex chain recruiters. and a text message. corporate discriminatory test report.

Braxton, however, was not dispatched. And besides Braxton’s apparent superiority, the only major difference between the two applicants, both of which were fictitious, reportedly: Braxton appeared to be a black man, while Klein was not.

“Antwan Braxton is clearly more qualified than Neil Klein — but he didn’t get any callbacks,” said Sara Surface, director of the Civil Rights Check at the Equal Rights Center (ERC) advocacy group. which provided research for the report, told The Daily Beast.

Braxton and Klein were among 312 pairs of simulated candidate candidates tested in a research report released Wednesday by the ERC and 32BJ SEIU/Fast Food Union labor group to investigate potential discrimination in Chipotle’s management recruitment process. Using an age-old research tool called “mail check,” the report used a bot to send “a white candidate and a black candidate with a similar position, indicated by racially distinctive first and last names” for open positions.

The report, titled “Unequal Opportunity: Exploring Hiring Discrimination at Chipotle Mexican Grill,” experts say, and first obtained by The Daily Beast, reaches worthy conclusions. reliable and worrisome – if also limited -. Specifically, of the applications submitted in 37 states over a three-week period in February, white candidates received “significantly” more responses from employers about employment than non-white applicants. Black applicants, the report found.

The results stand in stark contrast to the fast food chain’s previous commitment to diversity and ending racial inequality. They also come just a day after the New York State Controller released a statement calling on Chipotle shareholders to support a proposal for an independent audit of the company’s civil rights, racial equality and diversity practices. the company.

“According to Chipotle, Black Lives Matter — but if Black Living is important to them, then why am I the only Negro worker at my store?” John Larkin, a Chipotle worker in New York City, 34, told The Daily Beast. “I really want to grow in this company, I would love to see Black workers in leadership roles at Chipotle. I would love to see Chipotle take us seriously.”

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Chipotle’s Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and People, Marissa Andrada emphasized that the company is “committed to fostering a culture that values ​​diversity, ensures fairness and respects honoring inclusion,” noting that more than half of its U.S. population of employees is female and 68 percent is “consisting of ethnicities and minorities.”

“While we have not received, nor have we had a chance to review the validity of the study, we receive close to 20,000 applications per week, thus a sample set of several hundred false applications. does not provide an accurate description of our hiring process,” Andrada added. “The majority of our restaurants are currently staffed, so candidates will be recalled based on job demand in each location.”

The report notes publicly available data from Chipotle’s 2020 diversity analysis, which shows that while 19% of hourly restaurant workers are Black, those numbers drop to 11% for for salaried managers and 6% for senior managers. To date, there are no Black members of Chipotle’s executive leadership team.

Experts who reviewed the report on behalf of The Daily Beast concluded that the findings were statistically reliable and used a fairly standard methodology of the social sciences. They also warned that the report was not peer-reviewed and was made on behalf of an interested party in a labor union seeking to organize workers at the company.

That being said, according to Rutgers Law Professor David Lopez, the report’s findings “provide a red flag worth keeping an eye on.”

“I hope Chipotle makes it,” Lopez, who is also a former adviser to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, told The Daily Beast. “I don’t know what the end of this association will be, but I hope that Chipotle will take these findings seriously. This doesn’t prove discriminatory, but it raises enough questions and shows enough data points — that [it] worth digging a little deeper. ”

To conduct a test of Chipotle’s recruitment methods, ERC submitted a total of 624 job applications, including 416 for general manager position and 208 for general manager apprentice or assistant positions. between February 21 and March 10. A 32BJ researcher told The Daily Beast about the decision. Focusing solely on these types of roles is because they are “an important first step as a gateway to a career in restaurant management.”

Correspondence testing refers to the technique of sending carefully crafted pairs of applications to potential employers from similarly qualified fake candidates to control for as many other variables as possible. In this case, the test aims to focus on race, collected using a list of racist first and last names from a 2021 survey released by the National Bureau of Economic Statistics. .

“ERC has made the Black candidate’s resume slightly stronger than the white candidate’s to ensure that the white candidate’s resume is never of an objectively better quality than those of the white candidates. their black counterparts,” the report states.

The report found that, overall, 58% of fake applications received a callback from a Chipotle recruiter for general manager positions. But white candidates received callbacks for about 64 percent of the jobs they searched for, while black candidates received callbacks for 53 percent of the jobs they did, the report said. The report shows an overall callback rate of 25% for assistant general manager or trainee positions, but again identifies a difference: white candidates receive callbacks for 30% of the jobs. jobs they applied for, while black applicants registered at 20%.

“The results of the ERC investigation show that racial disparities in Chipotle’s hiring practices have denied a significant number of job opportunities to black applicants in certain parts of the United States,” The report adds.

Independent experts gathered by the Daily Beast – and the authors – offered much caution in interpreting the findings.

Most importantly, the apparent phenomenon of favoring white candidates is not a universal phenomenon. Breaking the results into four geographies — Northeast, South, Midwest, and West — the report found that black candidates for the general manager position in the West region actually received “callbacks.” for more job opportunities than whites.”

Likewise, the report actually shows that Black general manager candidates in the Midwest receive more callbacks than their white counterparts — and black candidates for assistant and general manager positions. The same goes for the trainee director in the South.

NYU Professor Samuel Estreicher also noted that “it is difficult to demonstrate discrimination against blacks in the hiring of management positions” and reiterates that the report was “funded by a union.” “.

Director of NYU’s Center for Labor and Employment, Estreicher also questioned whether the “racial signatures” of names actually indicate “the presence of racial prejudice, rather than the presence of racial bias.” unfamiliar with the name or not.”

The report itself also notes other limitations, including the short time frame, having to submit multiple applications by the same rogue applicant in the same state, and the inability to map a single callback to one. specific Chipotle position — less than a specific employer — in some cases.

Noting that there are nearly 3,000 Chipotle locations around the country, Surface emphasized in an interview that the sample size used in the report was a “small size”.

Surface added: “I think in an ideal world we could do a report where we would have a much higher volume of time and data. “With more time and using an ideal study design, we would probably have each pair of candidates apply for only one job and see how that affects or doesn’t affect other candidates. patterns we see in the data.” Check Sting Activity To See If Chipotle Hiring Can Be Racist


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button