Target agrees to settle discrimination lawsuit

As part of Target's hiring process, prospective employees in Tennessee could be subject to a background check. However, a legal compliant made by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund alleged that the system was discriminatory against Latino and black workers. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Those who may have been denied jobs because of the background check process since May 11, 2006, were included in the suit.

The suit argued that workers were filtered out for crimes that had been committed several years prior to seeking employment. A proposed settlement would see the company pay $3.7 million. Target would also make an effort to hire black and Latino applicants who may have lost a job opportunity because of a failed background check. The parties in the case are now seeking preliminary approval of the settlement.

As a general rule, companies are allowed to make employment decisions that are in its best interests. However, they must be made in a manner that is not discriminatory based on race, religion or other protected attributes. An employer may also be limited in what it can about a job candidate's history or how it can use information that it finds in a background check or similar search.

If an individual is the victim of discriminatory employment policies, that person may be entitled to take legal action against the company. Cases might be settled through arbitration, mediation or through formal legal action. A legal matter may be brought by an employee regardless of whether he or she has an attorney. In some cases, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will help a person hold an employer accountable for illegal activity. If successful, a victim may be able to obtain compensation.

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