EEOC Settles Suit for Class of African American Employees; Remedial Relief Included
PHILADELPHIA -- Target Corporation, the Minneapolis-based retail sales giant, has agreed to pay $775,000 to a group of black workers as part of a litigation settlement of a race discrimination and retaliation case brought by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The settlement also includes employer training and other remedial relief.
The EEOC charged that Target violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by creating and condoning a racially hostile work environment at its Springfield, Pa., store for a class of African American employees. The racial harassment included inappropriate comments and verbal berating based on race. Further, when one of the black employees objected to this treatment, he was allegedly retaliated against, leaving him no choice but to resign.
EEOC said in the suit that Michael Hill, a senior merchant at the Springfield store (an apprentice in training to become a store manager) and others were subjected to racial harassment by a white store manager, whom they reported for the unlawful conduct. Hill ultimately left the job due to the negative health effects of the discrimination and the lack of effective response to his internal complaints. EEOC charged that Hill’s resignation was forced upon him, amounting to a constructive discharge.
The consent decree settling the lawsuit provides Hill and a class of 13 African American employees with $775,000 and requires that all managers and supervisors at the Springfield store will receive training in the company’s equal employment opportunity policies. The decree also requires Target to post a notice about the settlement; ensure that its complaint procedure is effectively communicated to the workforce; and take remedial action if an employee violates its equal employment opportunity policy.
According to its web site (www.target.com), Target “operates approximately 1,500 stores in 47 states, including more than 175 SuperTarget® stores that add an upscale grocery shopping experience.”
"We are pleased that the parties could reach an amicable resolution of this matter,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair. “We expect the proposed training and emphasis on anti-discrimination policies to create a more employee-friendly work environment at Target's facility.”
Title VII makes it illegal to deny a person any employment opportunity because of that person’s race or color, sex, religion or national origin. A work environment free from illegal harassment and different treatment based on race are included in the range of such employment opportunities. In addition, Title VII recognizes that persons made to work in an intolerable environment may be constructively discharged, or compelled to resign their employment. Finally, it is illegal to retaliate against someone because he has made a complaint of illegal discrimination.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.