The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is settling with federal government contractor NCS Pearson Inc. for allegations of hiring racial discrimination against 67 Asian job applicants who were rejected for associate software developer positions at the company's Iowa City, Iowa, facility.
"All workers deserve a fair shot to compete for and secure good jobs, and it is incumbent upon companies that do business with taxpayer dollars to make sure that the doors of opportunity are truly open to everyone," says OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, a member of the federal Interagency Working Group on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. "President Obama has articulated his commitment to protecting the civil rights of our nation's rapidly growing Asian American communities, and I'm pleased that we were able to work out a settlement, which will provide financial relief and jobs for workers who were denied their fair shot."
During a scheduled compliance review, OFCCP found that NCS Pearson breeched Executive Order 11246 in 2009 when using a hiring process that ended in systemic discrimination against Asian job applicants at its Iowa City facility. Based on a conciliation agreement signed by NCS Pearson and OFCCP, the contractor is to pay $100,000 in back wages and interest to the 67 affected job seekers as well as offer associate software developer positions and retroactive seniority to at least four class members as positions become available. NCS Pearson is also required to revise its selection policies and procedures to ensure equal employment opportunities for future applicants.
NCS Pearson, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British company Pearson PLC, has more than $12 million in federal contracts for research and development for the U.S. Department of Education and provides educational materials, electronic learning programs and test development as well as processing and scoring services to educational institutions and corporations on a global level.
Along with the Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Under these three laws, those conducting business with the federal government must follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.