On April 5, 2018, Outten & Golden LLP (“O&G”) and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (“LDF”) announced that they had reached a settlement with Target Corporation (“Target”) to resolve allegations that Target’s criminal background check policy discriminates against African-American and Latino applicants.
Along with the settlement agreement, O&G and LDF filed a Class Action Complaint in the Southern District of New York on behalf of individual Plaintiffs Carnella Times and Erving Smith, who both applied to and interviewed for Target jobs and received conditional offers of employment. Target later rescinded their conditional employment offers after criminal background checks revealed that Plaintiffs had decade-old convictions. In the lawsuit, O&G and LDF also represent The Fortune Society (“Fortune”), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the successful reentry and reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals. Fortune alleges that Target’s hiring practices impede Fortune’s ability to carry out its mission to advance the employment of formerly incarcerated individuals.
Plaintiffs bring claims on behalf of themselves, and on behalf of a Class of similarly situated African-American and Latino applicants who sought employment with Target from 2006 through the present, but were denied employment based on Target’s criminal background check policies and practices.
The proposed settlement remedies Target’s job applicant screening process, which Plaintiffs allege barred thousands of African-American and Latino applicants from jobs based on their race and national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As part of the proposed settlement, Target has agreed to institute a hiring process for eligible class members to obtain jobs at one of Target’s approximately 1,800 U.S. based retail stores. Class members who would not benefit from a Target job (because they are currently employed, retired, or have family care responsibilities, for example), may be eligible for a cash award. Target also agreed to work with experts to revise its criminal background check policies and develop validated screening policies and guidelines for the use of criminal history records in its hiring decisions. Additionally, Target agreed to make a financial contribution to select not-for-profit organizations providing re-entry support to individuals with criminal history records to develop a pipeline of qualified applicants who have completed work ready programs.
The proposed settlement will not only open job opportunities to African-American and Latino class members who Target has rejected in the past, but also to many others who would have been rejected in the future due to Target’s criminal history screening policies and practices.