Target Corp. Agrees to Pay $510,000 for Race Discrimination

U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa yesterday signed a consent decree ending a lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Target Corp. for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by not hiring African Americans in the retail giant’s District 110 (Milwaukee and Madison, Wisc.) based on their race, and by failing to keep documents as required by law.

Under the two-and-one-half-year consent decree ending the nearly six-year old litigation, Target agreed to pay a total of $510,000 to Kalisha White, Ralpheal Edgeston Brown, Cherise Brown Easley, and James Daniels, Jr.--black job applicants who were denied positions as assistant store managers in 2000 and 2001.

As part of the decree, Target also agreed to revise its document retention policies, provide training to supervisors on employment discrimination and record-keeping, report on hiring decisions, and post a notice about the consent decree to employees in its District 110 stores and offices.

The consent decree follows a 2006 unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, which reversed Judge Randa's dismissal of the case and ruled that it should go to trial (EEOC v. Target Corp., 7th Cir. No. 04-3559). The appeals court found that the EEOC had presented sufficient evidence that Target refused to hire the four black job applicants for entry-level management positions because of their race. The court also held that a trial was required on the issue of whether Target had destroyed employment applications in bad faith, and whether its changed policies with respect to retaining records were sufficient.

John Rowe, director of the EEOC's Chicago District Office, said that the appeals court decision was "noteworthy for its ruling that the trial court could admit into evidence expert testimony to the effect that the employer may have racially identified the applicants as African American on the basis of their names or accents heard during telephone conversations."

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