Minnesota readers know that Target has been in the news fairly frequently in recent months over the security breach that occurred last year. Now, the company is in the news for alleged workplace discrimination.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Target had been using employment assessments which violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of sex, race, national origin, color or religion. The commission is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the law.
In this case, there were three separate assessments that allegedly violated the law. In addition, one of the assessments was apparently performed by psychologists, even though the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from requiring applicants to undergo medical examinations prior to receiving an offer for employment.
Target settled the case for $2.8 million, which is to be split among thousands of people affected by the company’s hiring practices. As part of the settlement, Target will be required to change its hiring practices and to hire an independent consultant to ensure its hiring staff is properly trained to use assessment methods which are in compliance with federal law.
As is typical of such settlements, Target admitted to no wrongdoing, but the fact that the company settled perhaps says more than any such statement. For the individuals affected by Target’s previous hiring practices, the settlement is a victory, regardless of how the company perceives it.
Challenging discriminatory employment policies is not necessarily an easy thing to do, and it is important for those who feel they have been affected by illegal employment practices to consult an experienced attorney for guidance and advocacy.