Employers Discriminate Against Muslim Applicants — Especially In Red States, Study Finds


If a job candidate lists that he is Muslim on his social media profile while job hunting in the U.S., he’s less likely to get a job, according to a new study from Carnegie Mellon University.

Researchers there conducted an experiment where they sent out four different job applications — all with a traditionally white male name and with the exact same qualifications — to employers. The only difference that could be found between the applicants was on Facebook, where each “person” listed one of four attributes: straight, gay, Christian, or Muslim.

The study found that companies that did research into an applicant’s social media presence were less likely to call Muslims back for interviews. Nationally, Muslims were called back 14 percent less of the time compared to their Christian counterparts. Sexuality had no discernible impact.

But the most startling finding in the study was that not all states treat Muslim applicants equally. The Wall Street Journal crunched the numbers and found that in the 10 most Republican-leaning states, Muslim candidates were called back about 2 percent of the time, but in the 10 most Democratic-leaning states, Muslims were called back about 11 percent of the time, statistically on par with their Christian counterparts. Similarly, straight and gay candidates had about the same shot in blue states, while straight candidates were slightly preferred (by about 1 percent) in red states.

In the years following September 11th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a staggering 250 percent rise in the number of religion-based discrimination complaints filed. And while Muslims make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for one quarter of the religious discrimination complaints filed in 2011.

Just a few months ago, a woman won a wrongful termination lawsuit against Abercrombie and Fitch after the company fired her for wearing a headscarf.