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Study confirms discrimination in the retail industry

Posted by Anita F. O'Meara, Esq. | Mar 07, 2022 | 0 Comments

Like other industries, the retail industry has experienced its share of employee discrimination. In some situations, minority workers receive significantly less pay along with fewer opportunities for promotion.

A 2015 report revealed that Black and Latino retail workers have higher chances of being part of the “working poor” compared with their white counterparts. Among the statistics that stood out: while 9% of all retail workers lived in poverty, retail workers who were Black and Latino had much higher rates of 17% and 9% respectively. But there is a lot more from the report.

Fewer promotions and less pay

Compiled by New York-based think tank Demos and the NAACP, the paper and its findings shed additional light on the discrimination-related challenges faced by minority retail workers. Some of those findings included:

  • Fewer in managerial positions: An estimated 11% of retail workers are black, however, they only account for 6% of employees in management roles.
  • Less pay than whites in sales jobs: Black and Latinos serving in full-time sales roles receive only 75% of the earnings of white colleagues.
  • Less pay than whites – part II: An estimated 70% of Black and Latino workers in full- and part-time sales positions make less than $15 per hour, while 58% of their white counterparts are in the same earnings category.
  • Many more minorities in cashier roles: This job is the lowest paid within the retail industry and is overrepresented by Blacks and Latinos. In addition, full-time cashiers who are Black and Latino receive 90% of the wages of their white peers, shorting them $1,850 each year.
  • More canceled shifts and abrupt shift changes: This is part of what retailers refer to as “just-in-time scheduling” that sees part-time workers receive their schedules on short notice or sudden shift changes or cancellations. An estimated 20% of Black retail workers serve in part-time positions, while whites comprise fewer than 14% of part-time workers.

Equal job and pay opportunities must be available to all workers – no matter their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

Implementing change

Discrimination in the workplace has long been a problem in the retail industry. Minority workers encounter discrimination on the job nearly every day. It is time that more employers realized their policies and attitudes have been detrimental to so many workers and to implement serious changes.

About the Author

Anita F. O'Meara, Esq.

PRACTICE AREAS: Estate Planning, ADministration and litigation, and Commercial litigation Biography:  Anita Fulwiler O'Meara concentrates on providing estate planning and probate services throughout Southeaster Pennsylvania, including Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, and Montgomery, counties, wit...


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