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Press Release 12-10-2007


EEOC Consent Decree Against Retail Giant Ends Suit for Hiring Bias Against Blacks


MILWAUKEE – U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa today signed a  consent decree ending a lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC) against Target Corporation 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 (Civil Action No. 02-C-0146, filed in the U.S.  District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Feb. 2002), Target  agreed to pay a total of $510,000 to Kalisha White, Ralpheal Edgeston Brown,  Cherise Brown Easley, and James Daniels, Jr. – African Americans who were  denied jobs 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. The appeals court found that the EEOC had presented  sufficient evidence that Target refused to hire the four African American  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.


The appeals  court’s decision (EEOC v. Target Corporation, 7th Cir. No. 04-3559)  was authored by Circuit Judge Richard D. Cudahy and issued on Aug. 23,  2006. James Tucker and Lorraine Davis in  the EEOC Office of General Counsel in Washington  represented the agency on the appeal to the Seventh Circuit.


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.”


EEOC  Chicago Regional Attorney John Hendrickson said, “We think it’s fair to count  the resolution of this case as a success for all concerned. There has been an  important precedent-setting decision which will be important in future challenges  to race discrimination on the job. The individuals upon whose behalf the EEOC  brought this particular case are going to receive fair relief, and Target is  going to be able to put the case behind it and move forward with its business  as an important retailer.”


Dennis  McBride, who led the EEOC’s litigation effort in the Milwaukee Area Office  added, “We’re pleased that Target has agreed to resolve this case and move  forward. The consent decree entered  today will help ensure that all Target applicants will receive fair  consideration.”


On  Feb. 28, 2007, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp launched the Commission’s E-RACE  Initiative (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment), a national  outreach, education, and enforcement campaign focusing on new and emerging race  and color issues in the 21st century workplace.  Further information about the E-RACE Initiative is available on the  EEOC’s web site at


In  Fiscal Year 2006, the EEOC received 27,238 charges alleging race-based  discrimination, accounting for 36 percent of the agency's private sector  caseload. Historically, race-based  charges have been the most frequent type of filing with EEOC offices  nationwide.


The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination. Further information is  available on the EEOC’s web site,