Target Settles Lawsuit for $3.7 Million Over Racial Disparity

Target Corp. agreed to a $3.7 million settlement for a lawsuit over worries how the company uses criminal background checks in his hiring process has hurt both Hispanic and black applicants in a disproportionate way.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill said that the background check policy at Target was not in step with best practices as well as being harmful to a large number of applicants who were qualified and deserved fairness in landing a good job.

Information obtained from criminal background checks can be used as a legitimate tool in screening applicants for jobs, but only if linked appropriately to questions that are relevant like how long ago did the offense take place and whether the offense was a misdemeanor or nonviolent.

The complaint was class-action and as part of the case’s settlement, independent consultants are to recommend the changes that need to be made to the current screening policies at Target.

For example, a list of different convictions will be established that are not to be looked at as job-related and therefore should not be a determining factor in disqualifying an applicant for a particular job position.

The independent consultants will review the appeals process at the company that offers job candidates an opportunity to present evidence of there being rehabilitation.

In a prepared statement, the retailer, based in Minneapolis, said it was glad the case was resolved and was moving ahead. At Target, the statement said, we have several measures that are in place to make sure Target is fair and equitable when it comes to hiring practices.

One analyst called the settlement one of the biggest of its kind. He added that it would likely become a model to other employers as they attempt to create hiring policies and practices that are better.

The United States Census Bureau in 2016 settled for $15 million a similar type suit that was class-action involving as many as 450,000 black and Hispanic applicants who might have been overlooked for employment due to practices in background checks.

The agreement says that black and Hispanic applicants denied employment from Target due to criminal background checks dating back to May of 2006 are eligible or interviewing or priority hiring for positions that are currently open.

They can also seek up to a $1,000 financial reward.

Target will also give $600,000 to a total of five organizations working to help people with criminal background get hired.

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