Target Corporation has been accused in a proposed class action of discriminating against 'thousands of qualified African Americans and Latinos' by denying them opportunities for employment based on a supposedly flawed background check process.
Target Corporation has been accused in a proposed class action of discriminating against “thousands of qualified African Americans and Latinos” by denying them opportunities for employment based on a supposedly flawed background check process. Specifically, the suit takes issue with the defendant’s alleged policy of rejecting applicants for non-exempt entry-level jobs whose records fall under “broad categories of certain criminal convictions” unrelated to the positions sought. By law, employers may only reject job applicants when their records of criminal conduct “manifest relationship to the employment in question,” the suit alleges, adding that the defendant’s screening process “is far too over-inclusive” and automatically denies potential employees who pose no risk to others or the performance of their duties.
Importantly, the case further argues that many of the applicants that fall into this category are African American or Latino, noting that the number of African Americans and Latinos convicted of crimes is “substantially higher” than whites “because of systemic discrimination in the criminal justice system.”
“Target’s Screening Process,” the complaint reads, “...imported the racial and ethnic disparities that exist in the criminal justice system into the employment process, thereby multiplying the negative impact on African American and Latino job applicants.”
Furthermore, the case continues, Target makes no effort to determine whether job applicants with past criminal records have since made “positive changes in their lives” and “no longer [pose] a risk to others.”
The complaint poses the following alternatives to the defendant’s hiring process:
considering applicants who have been arrested more than a year before applying for employment and have no record of conviction;
considering applicants “with juvenile adjudications or adult convictions that have been expunged or sealed”;
considering applicants who were convicted of crimes that by nature do not “pose a legitimate threat to the public safety or risk of workplace misconduct”;
changing the defendant’s policy of denying applicants “based on discrepancies in their self-disclosure” of criminal records; and
providing applicants an opportunity to produce evidence of rehabilitation or an explanation that proves they “[do] not present a current threat.”