By AFRO Staff

Target Corp. recently reached a $3.7 million settlement with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund over a lawsuit that alleged the major retailer used a criminal background screening policy that discriminated against Blacks and Latinos.

“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 and director-counsel at LDF, in a statement.

Target (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

LDF, in partnership with the law firm of Outten & Golden LLP, filed the suit on behalf of a class of job applicants. According to the complaint, Target used an overly broad and outdated system that screened applicants for prior convictions that happened long before the applicants sought employment with Target or that were not related to the positions being sought.

For example, according to the complaint, lead plaintiffs Carnella Times and Erving Smith interviewed with and received conditional employment offers from Target. However, the offers were later revoked when the company discovered Times had earned two misdemeanor convictions 12 years before and Smith had a decade-old drug-related felony.

Under the settlement, Target will institute a hiring process for class members to obtain jobs at any of its approximately 1,800 U.S. based retail stores. Those who would not benefit from a job will get a cash award. Additionally, the giant retailer will hire experts to review and revise its background check process. And, Target will contribute to nonprofits that assist ex-offenders with re-entry.

“I faced many challenges because of a conviction in my early twenties,” said Smith. “But with perseverance, a great support system, and the opportunity to obtain a living wage, I have become a successful tax-paying member of society. Everyone deserves a second chance and I am happy that Target has agreed to offer qualified individuals jobs.”