Minority Hiring Survey Gets Personal

NEW YORK The New York City Commission on Human Rights, which has investigated minority hiring practices at large New York ad agencies, is now seeking individuals who feel they were discriminated against.

“We’ve reviewed the statistical data that has been provided by these agencies,” said Avery Mehlman, deputy commissioner in charge of the commission’s law enforcement bureau. “We’re looking to get more from agencies who haven’t responded in full. The next stage is to seek individuals who allegedly have been discriminated against and interview them.”

An ad published in trade publications this month read, “Are you a current or former employee of one of New York’s large advertising agencies and feel that you have been discriminated against, particularly with regard to training and promotions, on the basis of your race?” The ad asked readers to contact the commission.

Mehlman said most shops have complied with the commission’s requests for information, which included the ethnic and racial backgrounds of agency personnel.

He would not comment on which agencies have not responded or when the investigation would conclude.

Asked about the ramifications if discrimination is found, Mehlman said, “We don’t comment on pending investigations.”