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Target to pay $three.74 million to settle claims that it discriminated against black, Latino job applicants – The Denver Post

Target has agreed to pay $3.74 million to settle claims that its background criminal checks discriminated against thousands of black and Latino applicants. The retailer says it will also review the way it screens jobs candidates for hourly positions at its stores.

The class-action lawsuit and settlement, both filed Thursday, stem from a 2006 complaint against the retailer filed on behalf of Carnella Times, who received a job offer from Target to work as an overnight stocker in South Windsor, Connecticut, that was later rescinded after the company’s background check found that she had two misdemeanor convictions from a decade earlier.

“Target’s background check policy was out of step with best practices and harmful to many qualified applicants who deserved a fair shot at a good job,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, which filed the settlement. “Criminal background information can be a legitimate tool for screening job applicants, but only when appropriately linked to relevant questions such as how long ago the offense occurred and whether it was a nonviolent or misdemeanor offense.”

The big-box chain said Thursday that members of the class-action lawsuit will receive priority in its hiring process for job openings at the company’s 1,800 U.S. stores. Applicants who are no longer in the market for a job – because they’re already employed or are retired, for example – will be eligible for a cash award.

Jenna Reck, a Target spokeswoman, said the company has revised its hiring policies over the past 10 years. Four years ago, it stopped asking applicants about their criminal histories in its job applications. Those questions now come “in the final stages of the hiring process,” Reck said. “This ensures individuals are considered for employment based on their qualifications, interview and availability.”

Samuel Spital, director of litigation for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, said Thursday’s settlement was particularly important because so many companies use similar criminal background checks to vet potential hires. Black Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites, according to the NAACP.

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