Banning Drug Testing And Credit Checks Hurt Minority Job Applicants

The stereotypes of drug addiction and low credit hurt African-Americans’ employment prospects.

Recent studies have revealed that decade long efforts by states to successfully ban the use of credit checks and extensive drug tests as screening tools in hiring decisions are counterproductive and hurtful to minorities.

A study, which was carried out by Robert Clifford, an economist at the Boston Fed, and Daniel Shoag, an assistant professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, show that prohibiting employers from carrying out financial background checks gives rise to the possibility that black people get underemployed compared to whites.

According to the findings of the research, the banning of credit-check in most states made it easier for people with bad credit histories to compete for jobs. But the study also found that black job-seekers seemed to have been disproportionately pushed away by this legislation, making it rather difficult for them land jobs.

In contrast another study published last year in the Review of Economics and Statistics, found that the hiring rate of African Americans increased significantly when employers required that applicants do drug tests.

According to Abigail Wozniak, the author of the study, the likely explanation for these findings is that “prior to drug testing, employers overestimated African Americans’ drug use relative to whites.”

This is evidence that stereotypes can have wide range effects, including cultural and economic.

The absence of drug tests, which gave black job applicants the opportunity to disprove the incorrect perception of them being addicts, has led to employers shunning them and trashing their application forms.

Similarly the credit checks were offering a counterbalance to inherent biases or assumptions about black job-seekers. Such misconceptions and prejudice have led to disproportionately high unemployment rates among African Americans.

Things would not be like this in America, if black people were duly respected, given the benefit of the doubts, and seen by employers and society as equally capable as their white counterparts.

Under such atmosphere, no form of stereotype and racial bias would ever exist in hiring decisions.

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