What e-mails from hotels reveal about racial discrimination

On May 29, Starbucks will close in 8,000 locations to administer racial bias training for 175,000 of its employees. The move is a response to national outrage in the United States over the arrest of two black patrons while they were simply waiting for a meeting to begin at one of its coffee shops in Philadelphia.

But racial bias training for employees is not enough to address the epidemic of discrimination by US companies. Over the past two years, we have investigated discrimination in customer service by conducting large-scale field experiments in the hospitality industry. We have repeatedly found that front-line workers exhibit racial bias in the quality of customer service they provide.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 22, 2018, with the headline 'What e-mails from hotels reveal about racial discrimination'. Print Edition | Subscribe