A Reveal investigation into systemic discrimination in the temp industry, reported in collaboration with Chicago public radio station WBEZ, has won the Sidney Hillman Foundation’s Sidney Award for the month of February. The investigation was published on The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal website and on its Reveal radio show and podcast, produced with PRX, which airs on more than 230 stations nationwide.
The foundation, created to honor labor leader Sidney Hillman, who died in 1946, gives out the monthly award for “outstanding journalism that fosters social and economic justice.”
Reveal’s investigation found a pattern of racist, sexist and otherwise discriminatory hiring among temp agencies across the country. Some employers use temp agencies to request white workers, for example, or only men for specific positions. Temp agencies sometimes use code words to filter and place workers by race, gender and age. Black job applicants are often hardest hit by the illegal practice.
The February Sidney Award honors Reveal’s text story, reported by Will Evans, and the hourlong radio program and podcast, featuring stories by Reveal’s Evans and Michael Montgomery and WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell. The text story, which was co-published with the Alabama Media Group, examines the nationwide problem of discrimination in the temp industry. The radio show looks closely at an Alabama-based temp agency’s practices, the racial tensions of a reform effort in Chicago and the history of the fight against job discrimination in America.
After publication, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission began looking into allegations regarding the Alabama company, Automation Personnel Services. The company also announced an internal probe and an anonymous tip line.