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Wednesday, February 17, 1999 Published at 14:18 GMT


Racist employers reveal true colours

Rob, left, and Kevin: Guinea pigs in an experiment on racism in the job market

An undercover survey has revealed that people's chances of getting a job may still depend on the colour of their skin.

Reeta Chakrabarti reports on the undercover operation which exposed racial discrimination
The investigation carried out in Bradford and Leeds last year has discovered that race discrimination in the job market is as prevalent as it was 20 years ago.

Rob, a white youth, and Kevin, his black counterpart, were guinea pigs in a social experiment to see who found it easier to get a job.

Wearing a concealed camera, Kevin went into a local pub advertising a vacancy for a barman.

[ image: The pub landlord is caught turning Kevin away]
The pub landlord is caught turning Kevin away
The landlord was caught on camera telling him the job had been taken, but when Rob, who is white, walked in a short while later, he was told there might be some work available.

The experiment was repeated at the local Conservative Club. Once again, Rob had more luck.

Kevin and Rob went back to the employers to confront them with their evidence.

The pub landlord said it was not Kevin's colour that was the problem but that he was big and might intimidate customers.

The woman at the Conservative Club said she was not racist but some of the members were. She said an Asian barmaid had previously had trouble, and she wanted to protect Kevin.

Tarnished image

Job discrimination is nothing new. Claudia Baptiste recently won £12,000 for being discriminated against by the Bradford newspaper, The Telegraph and Argus.

[ image: Claudia Baptiste sued over acist comments made during a job interview]
Claudia Baptiste sued over acist comments made during a job interview
At a job interview she was told that she would have to get used to being called a "black bastard". She did not get the job.

She says: "That was apparently an everyday part of the team spirit and office banter. Now I took offence to that".

But Sir Herman Ouseley, Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, says discrimination is on the whole a thing of the past .

"We know there are many progressive employers in this country who are recruiting fairly, engaging ethnic minorities both within the workplace and moving them up.

"We've really got a problem particularly in the medium and small sectors of employers where there are much more informal practices going on, where they are able to discriminate and get away with it; and we haven't been able to penetrate that level of society."

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