NY restaurants favor white, male workers: report

Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:42pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While New York is a melting pot of races and cultures, racial and gender discrimination is still prevalent in the city's restaurant industry, according to a study released on Tuesday.

City restaurants hire and promote white men more often than women and nonwhite workers, the study by The Restaurant Opportunities Group said.

The nonprofit group sent pairs of workers, one white and one nonwhite, to apply for wait staff positions at 138 unidentified fine dining restaurants in Manhattan over a year.

Although all the phony applicants were U.S. citizens and had the same credentials, nonwhite workers were half as likely to receive a job offer than white workers, the study found.

Researchers also examined census data, conducted worker and employer interviews, and analyzed wages from information provided in questionnaires.

Some nonwhites were subjected to racial stereotyping and some women faced sexual harassment, Rekha Eanni Rodriguez, an attorney for the group, said in an interview.

"This report shows that workers of color and women face obstacles in getting equal opportunities through all stages of restaurant work, from hiring to moving up once they are in the workplace," Eanni said.

The restaurant industry is the largest employer of immigrants in the nation, representing 17.5 percent of the industry's 8 million employees nationwide, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited in the report.   Continued...

<p>A waiter in a file photo. REUTERS/File</p>