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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OFCCP News Release: [03/15/2012]
Contact Name: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Release Number: 12-0403-KAN

US Labor Department settles charges of racial discrimination with Iowa City, Iowa-based federal contractor NCS Pearson

Agreement includes $100,000 in back wages and interest for 67 Asian applicants

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs today announced that federal government contractor NCS Pearson Inc. has agreed to settle allegations of hiring discrimination on the basis of race involving 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," said 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 determined that NCS Pearson violated Executive Order 11246 in 2009 by using a hiring process that resulted in systemic discrimination against Asian job applicants at its Iowa City facility. Under the terms of a conciliation agreement signed by NCS Pearson and OFCCP, the contractor will pay $100,000 in back wages and interest to the 67 affected job seekers, and will offer associate software developer positions and retroactive seniority to at least four class members as positions become available. Additionally, the company will 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, holds more than $12 million in federal contracts to conduct research and development for the U.S. Department of Education. The company provides educational materials, electronic learning programs and test development, processing and scoring services to educational institutions and corporations around the world.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to 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. For general information, call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional information is available at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.