ERC Resume Testing Investigation Finds Racial Disparities at Chipotle Restaurants

By Elias Cohn
May 18, 2022

Last week, the 32BJ chapter of the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU) released a report based on the ERC’s resume testing investigation into potential hiring discrimination at Chipotle Mexican Grill, a well-known national chain of restaurants. ERC’s investigation found evidence of potential racial disparities in Chipotle’s hiring practices which may disadvantage Black applicants for restaurant management positions.

Resume testing (also known as “correspondence testing”) is a technique in which investigators send pairs of job applications to employers from fictitious job applicants. Applications and resumes are carefully constructed so that paired job applicants appear to be equally qualified and similarly situated and differ from each other only in respect to one variable–which may include factors such as race, sex, color, religion, disability, or familial status. The employers’ responses to these job applications are then documented and analyzed to detect potential hiring disparities based on these factors.

In February and March, 2022, the ERC sent pairs of job applications for open General Manager and Apprentice/Assistant General Manager positions at Chipotle restaurant locations around the U.S. Each pair of applications included one application from a fictitious Black male and one from a similarly situated fictitious white male applicant. The ERC used distinctively white and Black first names and surnames to imply the race of each applicant.  The ERC then monitored the email accounts and phone numbers assigned to each fictitious job applicant for responses from hiring managers or recruiters.

Though the ERC’s investigation was subject to several limitations, as discussed in the report, the overall results showed, when controlling for other factors, applicants with racially distinctive White names received callbacks for job openings at a significantly higher rate than did applicants with racially distinctive Black names for both General manager and Assistant/Apprentice General Manager positions. As the figures below show, white applicants received callbacks for 64%(±3%) of the General Manager jobs they applied for, Black applicants received callbacks for only 53%(±3%) of jobs they applied for. Though the overall callback rate for Assistant/Apprentice General Manager positions was lower, white applicants were more likely to receive a callback (30%±3%) vs similar Black applicants (20%±3%). Both effects are both economically significant as well as statistically significant at the 99% level for General Managers and 95% level for Assistant/Apprentice General Managers.

Graph depicting Black and white applicants' callback rates for general manager jobs. the graph shows that white applicants received callbacks at a rate about 10% higher than Black applicantsGraph depicting Black and white applicants' callback rates for assistant general manager jobs. The graph shows that white applicants received callbacks at a rate about 10% higher than Black applicants

SEIU’s report on the ERC investigation is part of a national campaign to pressure Chipotle to address discrimination and address other equity issues affecting its workforce. The report has gained attention in the national press and has been covered in The Daily Beast and Vice News.

You can read the full report on ERC’s investigation here:

Cover page of SEIU 32BJ's report


The Equal Rights Center (ERC) — a national non-profit organization — is a civil rights organization that identifies and seeks to eliminate unlawful and unfair discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations in its home community of Greater Washington DC and nationwide. The ERC’s core strategy for identifying unlawful and unfair discrimination is civil rights testing. When the ERC identifies discrimination, it seeks to eliminate it through the use of testing data to educate the public and business community, support policy advocacy, conduct compliance testing and training, and, if necessary, take enforcement action. For more information, please visit 

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