Netherlands: 77% of employment agencies agree to discriminate

Netherlands: 77% of employment agencies agree to discriminate

Via Volkskrant:

A majority of Dutch employment agencies are guilty of discrimination. About three-quarters comply with r by employers not to provide Turks, Moroccans or Surinamese for a vacancy. This according to a thesis by sociologists Evelien Loeters and Anne Backer (VU University Amsterdam) on discrimination in the employment agency field.

Loeters and Backer pretended they were the owners of a fictional call-center and called 187 agencies asking if they could provide additional employees for a large task. During the phone conversation they said "I think it's a bit tedious to ask, but I prefer not Moroccans/Turks/Surinamese, even if they speak excellent Dutch I don't want them."

In 76.8% of the cases, the employment agencies honored the request, thereby violating the equal treatment law which bans discrimination. In about 14% of the cases, the employment agencies even said explicitly that discrimination is legally forbidden, but that despite that they'll do as asked.

In the study Moroccans were discriminated more often than Turks or Surinamese. In their request the researchers named one of the three ethnic groups. 83.1% of the request regarding Moroccans were honored, compared with 75.4% for Surinamese and 71.9% for Turks. Loeters and Backer say the differences are too small to conclude that different ethnicity influences whether discriminating requests are honored.

Large employment agencies with 14 or more branches complied less often with discriminating requests than smaller agencies. Loeters and Backer didn't encounter differences between agencies linked to trade associations and those that aren't.

This study is the first big study on discrimination in the employment agency field since 1991. Back then 94% of the temp agencies honored discriminating requests. Sociologist Jos Meloen tried 134 employment agencies.

Researcher Iris Andriessen of the Netherlands Institute for Social Research says that one difference between the studies is that Loeters and Backer were very strict as to what they considered discrimination. In 13 of the 187 cases, the agencies offered a list of names so that Loeters and Backer could strike out the Moroccan, Turkish or Surinamese sounding names on their own. They did not count that as discrimination, though it's also a violation of the law. Andriessen says that in this sense, there's not much difference between their results and that of Meloen.