Three sets of employment-related discrimination questions have been asked of NLSY79 respondents during select survey years. 

The first set, included in the 1979 and 1982 surveys, questioned working-age (that is, age 16 and over) respondents on whether they believed that specific types of discrimination (race, nationality, sex, and age) had caused them problems in getting a good job. 

The second set of discrimination questions asked those NLSY79 respondents who had served or were serving in the military at the 1980-85 interview dates whether race, sex, or rank discrimination was one of the reasons the respondent had left the military or would choose not to reenlist. Small numbers of respondents reported these types of discrimination as a reason for leaving or not reenlisting in the military. 

The third set, found in the 2018 survey, asked about age discrimination in the workplace. It consisted of two questions: one about whether younger workers at their workplace were given preference for promotions and the other about any pressure to retire early.

Of related interest are:

  • a question asked in the 1990 survey year that allows "discrimination" as a possible reason that a respondent feels no (further) promotions are possible with a given employer
  • a series of questions fielded in 1980 that asked respondents about the demographic composition of coworkers
  • questions in 1996 and 1998 about the sex of employees/coworkers supervised. "Training" section asked respondents if they received any equal opportunity or diversity sensitivity training.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: Questions concerning work-related discrimination were fielded during various years for the Young and Mature Women and Young and Older Men. The NLSY79 Young Adult 2012-2018 datasets include a series of questions about being unfairly treated at work, in education, and in everyday situations. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments and Documentation Discrimination questions are found in Section 6, "Knowledge of the World of Work" (1979), and Section 17, "On Aspirations and Expectations" (1982). Discrimination in the military is covered in the "Military" sections of the 1980 (Section 6), 1981 (Section 5), and 1982-85 (Section 4) questionnaires. The Employer Supplements for 1990 contain the promotion discrimination questions, while Section 7 of the 1980 questionnaire includes coworkers' characteristics. The 1996 variables are found in Section 8 and the Employer Supplements.  The 2000 variables are found in Section 8.
Areas of Interest The 1979 and 1982 employment-related variables can be found within the "Attitudes" area of interest on the main NLSY79 data set; the military-related discrimination variables can be found in the "Military" and "Misc. 1980"-"Misc. 1985" areas of interest. 

The promotion variables from 1990 can be found in "Misc. 1990," while the coworker demographic characteristics are located in "Misc. 1980."

The 1996, 1998, and 2000 training variables are located in the "Training" area of interest and the sex-related job hierarchy questions are contained in the "Job Information" area of interest.