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Target offers settlement in discrimination case

Some Latino or black Pennsylvania residents who were denied jobs with Target since May 11, 2006, after a background check turned up a criminal conviction might be eligible for a payout or to apply for a job with the retailer with priority consideration. This was the settlement Target agreed to after a class action lawsuit was filed against the company on April 5. Target made the settlement offer, which must be approved by the court, on the same day.

The complaint was filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and a law firm and focused on two plaintiffs. Jobs had been conditionally offered to both of them, but when a background check found that both had decade-old convictions, one a felony drug conviction and the other two misdemeanor convictions, the offer was withdrawn. The complaint says many people were denied jobs because they had convictions from long ago or that were irrelevant to the job they were applying for. It said that the background checks violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because they disproportionately affected black and Latino applicants.

Target says it has already changed the way it uses background checks. They now come at the end of the hiring process instead of the beginning, and applicants get the opportunity to explain themselves.

Title VII protects people against workplace discrimination related to a number of characteristics including sex, race, national origin and religion. Discrimination may refer to incidents that occur during the hiring process or while a person is an employee. A company might try to say that it took the actions it did because a person was unqualified or had poor performance, but an attorney might be able to help a person build a discrimination case.

Source: USA Today, "Target agrees to settle a lawsuit alleging discrimination against blacks and Latinos", Charisse Jones, April 6, 2018

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