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The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

NORC to Pay $95,000 to Asian Job Applicants in Discrimination Settlement

The settlement covers hiring discrimination present in the research institute’s COVID-19 contact-tracing efforts in Delaware and Maryland.
The+National+Opinion+Research+Center+located+at+1155+E.+60th+Street.+
Eric Fang
The National Opinion Research Center located at 1155 E. 60th Street.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) ordered social science research institute NORC at the University of Chicago to provide a total of $95,000 to more than 100 Asian job applicants after finding that the organization engaged in hiring discrimination, according to the department’s settlement agreement.

The DOL found that NORC discriminated against 107 Asian job applicants when hiring at its COVID-19 contract tracing ventures in Maryland and Delaware. NORC partnered with the state governments of Maryland and Delaware in April 2020 and May 2020 respectively to provide contact tracing services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NORC is most recognized for its polling, which it conducts in partnership with the Associated Press. The center also provides services like data analytics, strategic communications services, and data collection and management to clients in various fields.

In a statement about the settlement, NORC said that it hired “a wide range of candidates with a need for a significant number of Spanish-speaking interviewers,” which then led to the hiring of a disproportionately low number of Asian applicants relative to Hispanic applicants.

“While denying all allegations of discrimination, NORC settled the matter with the OFCCP [Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs] rather than continuing to contest the matter as it has been in deliberation for over two years. NORC has additionally evaluated and further enhanced its auditing systems and documentation practices to strengthen our ability to execute and monitor non-discriminatory hiring,” the statement read.

Each of the 107 applicants will receive payments as part of the hiring discrimination claim. Other people of Asian descent who applied to a job at NORC in the given time and were not part of the original settlement can still claim a share of the $95,000 settlement by emailing the DOL at OFCCP-MWR@dol.gov or calling (312) 596-7010.

NORC, formerly called the National Opinion Research Center, was founded in 1941 at the University of Denver as the first-ever non-profit polling organization. It moved to Chicago and became affiliated with UChicago in 1947.

Correction, October 20, 2023, 11:05 p.m.: A previous version of this article suggested that each applicant was eligible for a $95,000 payment. The $95,000 figure refers to the total settlement amount.

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About the Contributors
Austin Zeglis
Austin Zeglis, Senior News Reporter, Senior Sports Reporter
Austin is a member of the class of 2024 who hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He studies economics and music in the College and contributes to the Sports and News sections of The Maroon.
Eric Fang
Eric Fang, News Editor, Photo Editor, Design Associate
Eric Fang is a third-year in the College majoring in economics and public policy. He is a news and photo editor for The Maroon with an interest in local housing, campus security, and politics. In his free time, he enjoys biking, listening to music, and exploring Chicago food.
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    Gregory Caesar / Oct 19, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Well, well, well.

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