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Target Finally Moving Out Of The Cross-Hairs Of Criminal History Hiring Discrimination Lawsuit

Target has quite the bill to pay.  As a result of alleged discriminatory hiring practices, premised upon Target’s use of criminal background screening in a manner that had a disproportionate impact on minorities, Target Corp. will pay $3.74 million, and give priority hiring opportunities to black and Latino job applicants, to resolve claims that its criminal background check policy illegally excluded thousands of minority applicants from employment into hourly and entry-level positions.

The preliminary settlement was filed April 5, 2018, the same day The Fortune Society, Inc. and two workers filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of a proposed nationwide class, against Target for allegedly violating Title VII by requiring job applicants to disclose prior convictions and other criminal history on job applications.  This requirement, the Class Action Complaint alleges, had a disparate impact on black and Latino applicants, who have a disproportionately higher chance of arrest or incarceration than compared to their white counterparts.  Of course, most employers know that the EEOC has long maintained that employers are not to use policies and practices that screen out applicants premised upon a criminal history where such policies work to disadvantage minority applicants.  This lawsuit sprung from a charge of discrimination that was originally filed by one of the lead Plaintiffs on March 6, 2007.  The matter is finally resolved eleven (11) years later.

As part of the settlement process, Target will be revising and validating its guidelines for using criminal history checks in its hiring process.  Target will be giving priority hiring consideration to the two lead plaintiffs in the case and has to allocate funds to eligible class members and pay any remaining unclaimed funds to the Pipeline Project which assists non-profits who support people with criminal histories trying to reenter the workforce.

While Target is described as “happy to resolve the decade-old allegations” and “move forward,” it also insists that it remains dedicated to placing a high value on the safety of its customers and workforce.

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