Subtle Bias Against Muslim Job Applicants in Personnel Decisions1


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    The authors thank Nadzeya Tsishutsina for her assistance with data collection and manuscript preparation. We also thank Loren Naidoo, Mary Ignagni, Lauren Mendelson, Angela Grotto, Jeffrey Goldman, and Irina Khrapatina for their comments on a previous version of the article. Finally, we thank all those individuals who kindly volunteered to participate in the study.

Jaihyun Park, Baruch College–CUNY, Psychology Department, Box B-8215, 55 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010. E-mail:


Contemporary theories of prejudice suggest that racism still exists in society, but is expressed in subtle and justifiable manners. Employing such theoretical frameworks, the present study examined subtle ways in which social category information is used differentially in personnel decisions. Participants (managers or undergraduates) were presented with background information and a résumé (with a typical Muslim or European American name) for a hypothetical job applicant. After reviewing the résumés, participants judged the applicant on hirability, salary assignment, and other job-related characteristics. Results showed that the Muslim applicant, relative to the American, was unfavorably judged in salary assignment and job-related characteristics in the presence of negative information. Both managers and undergraduates exhibited the same bias. Implications of the findings are discussed.