DC Agency Claims MASSIVE Hiring Discrimination Against Transgenders

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A new study released by a District of Columbia government office portends to show major discrimination against transgender people in the hiring practices of local businesses.

Nearly half of D.C. employers would hire a less-qualified applicant over an applicant with transgender indicators, according to the study conducted by the Office of Human Rights. The study’s authors claim the results show massive amounts of discrimination among local employers, but the actual results appear less than conclusive.

The agency sent 50 fake resumes to local DC businesses advertising job openings, including 25 signaling the applicant was transgender. For each job opening, OHR sent two resumes signaling the applicant is transgender and two with no indication of gender identity.

One applicant used the name “Mary (Mark) Fitzgerald” to signify that she was a former man who now identifies as a woman. The other transgender applicant listed his former legal, female name on his resume along with his male name.

Agency officials constructed the transgender applications to be slightly more qualified for the job than the other two candidates. They had experience at organizations that advocate for transgender rights, while the other applicants had experience at organizations like women’s health groups.

In order to make the transgender applicants slightly more qualified, the study authors gave them one or two years more work experience or raised their GPA by 0.1 to .03 points.

“While the tester and control applications varied slightly in other respects to avoid detection, differences were controlled for as much as possible,” the study reads. “Therefore, when a control applicant received a callback but a tester applicant did not, it could be inferred that discrimination based on gender identity was likely.”

Of the 50 completed tests, 21 applicants received an offer for an interview. In 10 of the 21 successful tests the more-qualified transgender applicants were passed over for interviews.

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This, the authors claim, shows a 48 percent discrimination rate, which they then extrapolate to every employer in the city. According to 2013 U.S. Census data, there are more than 21,000 private businesses in the city.

Included in the tests considered “discriminatory” were those where the perceived transgender applicants were contacted 11 to 18 days after the other applicants. The test authors referred to this as “significantly later.”

If those tests are excluded, the number of “discriminatory” tests falls to just 33 percent, or rather, seven businesses out of more than 21,000.

Elliot Imse, ‎director of policy & communications at OHR, and one of the study’s authors, told The Daily Caller News Foundation the results of the study aren’t statistically significant, but more about understanding what is happening to transgender people.

“It doesn’t mean that it’s statistically significant to what is happening in the city, it just gives us a better idea of what is happening,” Imse said.

Though the results aren’t statistically significant, Imse said the study tried to control for every other personal characteristic, like age, race and economic status, so there is no reason the transgender people didn’t get a call back other than their gender identity.

“Clearly discrimination is occurring, there’s no doubt about that, and at a high rate,” he said. “The only real difference between the resumes was gender identity.”

The study concludes that government action is needed to end this “chronic injustice,” and the businesses shown to be discriminating against transgender people will be subject to “enforcement actions.”

“Government can and will play an important role in furthering equality for transgender and gender non-conforming people, and the administration of Mayor Muriel Bowser is advancing policies that can help create pathways for individuals to reach the middle class,” Monica Palacio, OHR director, said in a statement accompanying the study.

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