Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Month

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Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Heritage Month

During Asian American, Native Hawaiian /Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, OFCCP celebrates the contributions made by AANHPIs to our nation’s culture and history. OFCCP recommits our efforts to advancing equity for all AANHPI workers. In his Presidential Proclamation marking AANHPI Heritage Month, President Biden stated:

From laying railroad tracks, tilling fields, and starting businesses, to caring for our loved ones and honorably serving our Nation in uniform, AANHPI communities are deeply rooted in the history of the United States. . . In spite of the strength shown and successes achieved, the American dream remains out of reach for far too many AANHPI families. AANHPI communities face systemic barriers to economic justice, health equity, educational attainment, and personal safety. These challenges are compounded by stark gaps in Federal data, which too often fails to reflect the diversity of AANHPI communities and the particular barriers that Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, and South Asian communities in the United States continue to face.

The President's words are a reminder of the contributions AANHPIs have made to this nation, as well as the challenges the community continues to face. In the past year, AANHPI communities have experienced increased incidents of hate crimes, bias and racial scapegoating. Anti-Asian racism is not new. Throughout history, from the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese internment camps to post-9/11 hate crimes against South Asians, AANHPI communities have experienced discrimination and inequity, often stemming from xenophobia. 

Issues impacting low-income AANHPI communities in particular are often not well understood because of the inaccurate perception that AANHPIs are uniformly well educated and of high income. AANHPI communities are incredibly diverse in terms of socioeconomic status as well as national origin, language and religious affiliation. While some Asian American subgroups have high levels of education and income, more than 2 million AANHPIs live in poverty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic insecurity for many AANHPI communities. AANHPI women are overrepresented in service industries such as restaurants, hotels, and retail – industries that have seen significant job losses during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, AANHPI workers, including AANHPI women, faced job segregation, unequal pay and systemic barriers in hiring and promotions. A 2015 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report found that in the technology sector, which hires a high percentage of Asian American workers, Asian Americans are underrepresented in upper management. A 2016 article found that in comparing people with similar educational backgrounds, Asians Americans with advanced degrees actually earn 5% less compared with whites.

OFCCP has a longstanding mission to protect workers and enforce the contractual promise of equal opportunity and affirmative action by federal contractors and subcontractors.

Since 2019, OFCCP has recovered more than $7,599,821 million for over 3,367 AANHPI workers who OFCCP found to have experienced workplace discrimination. Notable resolutions achieved by OFCCP on behalf of AANHPI workers including the following:

  • On May 5, 2021, OFCCP entered into a conciliation agreement with Conduent Incorporated (“Conduent,” formerly Xerox Commercial Solutions) to resolve allegations of hiring discrimination. Conduent agreed to pay $395,000 to 1,503 Black, 106 Asian, and 15 Hawaiian or Pacific Islander applicants who applied for Customer Care Assistant positions and were not hired. Under the agreement, Conduent also agreed to extend 132 job offers to interested applicants.
  • On February 1, 2021, OFCCP announced a conciliation agreement with Google requiring the company to pay $3,835,032 to resolve pay disparities which included 1,219 Asian applicants who were not hired for software engineering positions. The conciliation agreement required that Google provide job opportunities to 51 female and 17 Asian applicants for software engineering positions.
  • On January 11, 2021, OFCCP announced that Lockheed Martin Corp. has agreed to pay $700,000 in back wages and interest to 616 affected Asian, African American and Hispanic applicants not hired for five different engineering positions. The agreement covered 268 Asian class members in Software Engineer Associate and Member Engineering Staff positions.

Over the past half-century, OFCCP has helped define and defend equal opportunity in the American workplace.  OFCCP is committed to better understanding and addressing the barriers facing AANHPI workers, and to ensure federal contractors and subcontractors  advance equality and opportunity for all. 

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