MCAD Begins Undercover Testing
The MCAD’s testing program will begin this summer and run through spring 2009. One component of the testing program is compare-testing, in which two comparable applicants of different age, sex, color or ethnicity are sent to apply for the same position, and an analysis is performed of how they are treated and whether discrimination is present. A second component of the testing program is complaint-testing, in which applicants participate in the employer’s complaint process to determine whether discrimination exists.
The MCAD has used testers in the past to uncover age discrimination in hiring and race discrimination in housing and employment. In 1993, the MCAD conducted one such testing program to look for age discrimination against job applicants. The testing program audited more than 40 businesses in the Boston area by sending undercover investigators to apply for jobs, and then comparing the employer responses to determine if discrimination was taking place. The MCAD brought complaints against seven of the companies and found that at least four had discriminated against applicants.
The MCAD’s testing program is an important reminder that employers should ensure their human resources and hiring personnel are at all times making employment decisions in a nondiscriminatory way, preferably by following a structured process, written procedures and specific criteria. Employers should consult with legal counsel to review their employment policies and hiring and training programs.