A Missouri health clinic allegedly sent rejection notices to at least 20 female job applicants, indicating that it did not hire job seekers who had what it called "ghetto names." The company has said it did not issue those notices and that its account on Indeed, an online job posting site, was hacked, according to various news reports.
But the incident raises the issue of name bias—whether the prejudice deals with a bias toward men's names over women's or against "black-sounding" and "foreign-sounding" names. It's a subject that has been studied and batted about for years.
SHRM Online has collected the following articles from its archives and other sources about bias for or against job seekers based on their names.
Multiple Women Rejected from Jobs After Company Says They Have 'Ghetto Names'
At least 20 women, including Hermeisha Robinson and Dorneshia Zachery, received rejection e-mails from St. Louis' Mantality Health center on Aug. 13. In the e-mail, the company said it did not hire candidates that have "ghetto names."
The company's clinic director, Jack Gamache, said its account was hacked. The company believes, he added, that a disgruntled employee sent the e-mails.
I Kept Getting Rejected for Job Interviews–Until I Changed the Name on My CV
Ziyad Marar was trying to get into the publishing industry after graduating from university. He applied for roles using both his first name and his middle name—Paul. One was far more successful than the other in landing invitations for job interviews.
[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Develop a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative]
Can Blind Hiring Improve Workplace Diversity?
Stripping identifying information from resumes may reduce bias in recruiting—and you don't need expensive software to do it. (A Sharpie works fine.)
The Benefits and Shortcomings of Blind Hiring in the Recruitment Process
Some employers are exploring the practice of blind hiring—finding ways to mask job seekers' ethnicity, gender, age and educational background during the application review stage.
The practice is not without its flaws. One example is that when used in a typical hiring context, a candidate's personal information can only be hidden during the initial screening stage. Once an employer conducts face-to-face interviews, there's no way to mask a candidate's name, gender or ethnicity.
The Top Jobs Where Women Are Outnumbered by Men Named John
The prevalence of men in power with particular names is revealing not only of skewed gender representation, but also of the whiteness of many institutions of American politics, culture and education.
(The New York Times)
Opinion: Job Interviews Without Gender
Gender-masking tools and the related trend of "blind hiring" have been chronicled in The New York Times and Wired, and discussed at tech conferences. The trend is a misguided distraction from the hard work of evaluating and fixing the ways in which their cultures drive out the women who are hired.
(The New York Times)