Target agrees to compensate thousands in discriminatory hiring case

A new court settlement illustrates the pervasiveness of criminal record discrimination in the United States.

by Lucius Couloute, April 11, 2018

According to documents filed last week, The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) has reached a settlement with the Target Corporation in a discriminatory hiring lawsuit. From 2008 to 2016 Target denied employment to over 41,000 Black and Latinx job applicants simply because they had a criminal record.

If approved by the court, Target will be required to reform its hiring procedures and to compensate the tens of thousands of people who were subject to criminal record discrimination.

The settlement builds from updated guidelines published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2012 establishing that the exclusion of people with criminal records can violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, or national origin). Basically, if employers like Target are using criminal records to automatically disqualify applicants, it is likely that they are disproportionately disqualifying applicants of color and violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Those covered in the settlement would qualify for either an entry-level job at Target, or monetary compensation up to $1,000 (if, for example, they are retired or cannot work due to a disability). The settlement also requires Target to contribute $600,000 to reentry organizations that support individuals with criminal records, and to create new guidelines for the use of criminal records in making hiring decisions.

The settlement won’t change the economic fate of everyone with a criminal record, but it does send a clear message to employers across the country: discrimination could cost you.

And it should.

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