US development agency disciplined over 'racist' hiring process

US development agency disciplined over 'racist' hiring process
Chemonics, the development agency responsible for some of the US' biggest contracts in the Middle East, was found to have 'denied equal employment opportunity' to African Americans.
2 min read
20 October, 2016
Chemonics recently won the largest ever award from USAID [Corbis Historical]
A US private development agency responsible for 'promoting good governance, civic engagement, and enterprise competitiveness' in the Middle East has been ordered to pay out after it was found to be prejudiced against ethnic minorities.

Chemonics International was ordered to pay $482,000 by the US department of labour in "back-pay, interest and benefits" to 124 African-American job applicants.

"Chemonics utilised a hiring process that denied equal employment opportunity to qualified African-American applicants," the US department of labour said in a report.

Chemonics are responsible for some of the US government's biggest development projects in the Middle East, including providing aid to the White Helmets in Syria.

The US consultancy agency received an award of $9.5 billion over eight years from USAID in 2015, the largest contract ever from the US government.

Allegations of racism can also be found on review sites such as Glass Door from April 2016.

"As a White person, I remember working in Chemonics and being disgusted at the comments and remarks of my White colleagues," said one anonymous reviewer from Seattle.

"Some of these racist comments came from execs."

An investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that Chemonics "discriminated on the basis of race" and failed to "maintain required records".

"Winning federal contracts, paid for with US taxpayer dollars, is a privilege, not a right," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu.

"With that privilege comes the obligation to practice equal employment opportunity towards all demographic groups of workers in this country."

A spokesperson for Chemonics responded to the Department of Labour's findings but has denied liability.