Target to pay $3.7M to settle civil-rights class action complaint

Target Corp. will pay more than $3.7 million and overhaul its job-screening for hourly works to resolve a civil rights class-action complaint, which alleged that the company’s criminal background checks discriminated against African-Americans and Latinos.

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According to the settlement, more than 41,000 African-America and Latino applicants were denied jobs based on criminal-history screening from May 2008 to December 2016. It wasn’t clear exactly how many settlements would be offered.

Pending court approval, the settlement calls for Target to give priority hiring rights to African-Americans and Latinos who applied for jobs starting around May 11, 2006, but were ultimately denied employment based on pre-employment background checks.

Those who are unable to benefit from that provision, whether because of retirement or family, medical or military obligations, would be eligible to receive up to $1,000.

“More than 10 years ago, like many major employers, Target began conducting regular criminal background checks as part of our hiring process to help ensure our stores were safe places to work and shop,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, there were claims that the approach may have unintentionally disqualified certain applicants, and that some applicants were disqualified because of convictions that weren’t related to the position for which they applied.”

They added, “Since then, we’ve revised our hiring practices, removing the criminal history question from our employment application nationwide. Now, we gather criminal background information in the final stages of the hiring process. This ensures individuals are considered for employment based on their qualifications, interview and availability.”