MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (08/24/15) – As per the Minneapolis Sun Times, Target will pay the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) $2.8M in order to compensate affected upper-level job applicants in order to head off the possibility of the matter being taken to Federal court.
The complaint against the retailer came about mainly because of three of Target’s pre-employment tests which were given to applicants for upper-level exempt management positions that some say were specifically designed to disproportionately screen out women, blacks, and Asians. Whether designed that way or not, the EEOC’s statistical analysis found a negative impact on these three classes (race, sex, color) which are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to Consumerist, one of the tests, which was performed by a psychologist, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because the Act forbids employers from giving job seekers medical exams before offering employment to them.
Another problem was that none of the tests, while deceptively appearing “neutral” when taken at face value, were actually job-related.
The approximately 3,000 candidates for upper-level jobs that were made to take these tests and not hired, and thus adversely affected by the testing, will all receive compensation from this settlement.
The settlement of the complaint, which was initiated in 2006, was announced on Monday, August 24, 2015, by Ms. Julie Schmid, Acting Director of the Minneapolis Area Office of the EEOC.
A spokesperson for Target, Ms. Molly Snyder, denied any wrongdoing on the part of Target regarding the testing. In terms of why Target settled while simultaneously claiming total innocence of the charges, Ms. Snyder stated that it would take too large of an amount of monetary resources for Target to litigate the case.
During its investigation, the EEOC found that Target did not maintain any records to assess how its testing or other hiring procedures affected candidates for employment who were part of a protected class.
Ms. Snyder claimed, to the contrary, that Target shared “substantial” data and documentation and fully cooperated with the EEOC.
Target ceased using these assessments while the EEOC’s review was ongoing and has not resumed doing so. As part of the settlement, Target also pledged to track their testing processes, with an emphasis on looking for disparate impact when it comes to gender, ethnicity and race, and agreed to keep the EEOC up to date on their findings.