Popular retail chain, Target, recently agreed to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of having a discriminatory hiring process. According to the lawsuit, which was filed by Carnella Times and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission back in 2007, Target’s “hiring process, which automatically rejected people with criminal backgrounds, disproportionately kept blacks and Hispanics from getting entry-level jobs at its stores.”
Times was allegedly “rejected for an overnight stocker position at a store in 2006,” and claimed in the lawsuit that she also told, “Target personnel during interviews that she had a 10-year-old misdemeanor conviction.” At the end of her interview she was given a “conditional job offer that depended on a criminal background check,” but later was sent a letter from Target explaining that her 1996 conviction prevented her from officially getting the job, according to the lawsuit.
Times wasn’t the only one discriminated against by Target’s hiring process, though. In fact, investigations and court documents revealed that, between 2008 and 2016, “more than 41,000 black and Hispanic applicants were denied jobs based on their criminal history.” Because of this, the lawsuit claimed that “blacks and Hispanics were harmed by the hiring system because they are arrested and incarcerated at higher rates than whites.”
So what will Target have to do now that it’s agreed to settle the lawsuit? Well, for starters, the retailer will have to “pay more than $3.7 million and will hire outside experts to review how it deals with applicants who have criminal backgrounds.” In addition, many of the applicants “who were rejected for jobs in the past 12 years due to their criminal history” will be put into a priority hiring process, while others “who aren’t qualified, or are unable to work, or live too far from a Target store, may receive up to $1,000,” according to the settlement agreement. On top of that, the retailer will “give $600,000 of the settlement money to organizations that support people with criminal records.”
In a statement from the company, Target said it has already begun making the necessary changes to its hiring process. Jenna Reck, a spokeswoman for Target Corp. said, “we hold diversity and inclusion as core values and strive to give everyone access to the same opportunities.”
Going forward, Target, which employs nearly “345,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees,” still plans on using background checks as part of the hiring process and believes they’re an important step to keep stores safe. However, the company will begin giving applicants a “chance to explain any criminal history, and will consider the person’s rehabilitation when making hiring decisions.”