Target has agreed to pay $3.7 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over allegations that its use of criminal background checks kept thousands of black and Hispanic job applicants from getting employment.
It resolves claims that the mega-retailer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on race, gender and other characteristics.
As part of the settlement, eligible African-American and Latino applicants who denied employment from a Target store because of a criminal background check since May 2006 will be eligible for priority hiring or interviewing for open positions. Alternately, they could seek a financial award of up to $1000.
Target spokeswoman, Jenna Reck, said the retailer no longer asks for criminal histories in job applications, but still considers convictions “important” and gathers criminal background information late in the hiring process.
“We have a number of measures in place to ensure we’re fair and equitable in our hiring,” while “maintaining a safe and secure working and shopping environment for team members and guests,” she said.
Target is also giving $600,000 to five organizations that work to help individuals with criminal backgrounds find employment: AccessAbility’s Career & Education Pathways Program and RS Eden in Minnesota, Center for Employment Opportunities and The Fortune Society in New York, and A New Way of Life Reentry Project in California.