A new report from Reveal, a news media project affiliated with the left-leaning Center for Investigative Reporting, details pressure placed on an Alabama-based temp agency to discriminate against black workers looking for job placement at the hands of some employers.
The new report claims widespread discrimination by employers seeking to hire only white, or sometimes Latino, workers through Automation Personnel Service, based in Clanton, AL.
The discriminatory activity was often done discreetly using code words, but other times in rather blunt terms.
One manager at a Georgia manufacturing plant asked the firm not to send him “any black thugs.” “I don’t think it’s a good idea to send him,” one recruiter remembered an employer advising. “They prefer somebody, you know, who’s white.”
The report interviewed several former temp recruiters and customer service managers who said racist hiring policies were endemic during their time serving industrial, administrative, and agricultural companies around the south.
The former employees said race-based discrimination gave rise to a colorful menagerie of terms employers would use to express their preference for Caucasian workers, including “blue eyes,” “vanilla cupcakes,” “hockey players” or someone “like you and me.”
“Another agency owner in Alabama was accused of running her finger along her own white cheek to indicate a preference for whites,” writer Will Evans reported.
Such discrimination, if true, raises a major problem for non-whites in the workplace. Temp workers have tripled since 1990 and grown tremendously since the most recent economic downtown.
“Researchers and government officials say hiring discrimination is a particular problem in the industry. Temp agencies face financial pressure to please their customers. Employers sometimes think they can get away with it if a temp agency does the dirty work for them,” the report reads. “Temp workers, replaceable on a whim, are especially vulnerable. And with multiple companies intertwined, it’s hard to prove claims of discrimination.”
The Center for Investigative Journalism published their report in AL.com, among other outlets. Conservative media watchdog groups like the pro-business Media Research Center maintain their coverage is influenced by contributions from hedge fund billionaire George Soros and other liberal donors.