Workplace discrimination is a fact. Although affirmative action, equal opportunity and other interventions have resulted in remarkable gains in the labor force status of racial minorities and other disadvantaged classes compared to the past, significant disparities remain. Even today, African Americans are twice as likely to be unemployed as whites, and the wages of both blacks and Hispanics continue to lag well behind those of whites.
Several studies such as the ones conducted by Cross et al. (1989), Turner et al. (1991), Fix & Struyk (1993), Bendick et al. (1994) and others confirm that racial minorities and other disadvantaged people remain concentrated in jobs with lower levels of stability and authority, and enjoy fewer advancement opportunities. Bertrand & Mullainathan confirms the existence of employment discrimination in a 2004 study by mailing identical resumes to employers in Boston and Chicago with only the names changed, and including racially identifiable names. White names triggered a callback rate 50 percent higher than applicants with common Native American names. A second survey by retaining the racially identifiable names but improving the qualifications of applicants reveal that improved qualifications benefited white applicants but not blacks. Another 2005 study by Tomaskovic-Devey et al. confirms that Native American men spend more time searching for work, acquire less work experience, and experience less stable employment than whites with similar characteristics.
Research throws up consistent evidence of discrimination in access to employment, but less consistent evidence of discrimination in wages and other working conditions. While some research, such as a 1994 study by Bendick et al. and a 1996 study by Cancio et. al. confirms the trend of discrimination extending to wages, such wage discrimination also relate to factors that precede labor market entry such as skill acquisition, confirming a sociological undertone to the discrimination. People entrenched in power develop an affinity to others with their same characteristics, and as such may unconsciously prefer them for hiring and other matters where subjective judgments play a decisive factor rather than objective and quantifiable “merit" factors.