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Complaints say Target discriminates against those with criminal background

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Two groups in Minnesota accuse Target Corp. of refusing to consider hiring workers with any criminal record, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The St. Paul chapter of the NAACP and TakeAction Minnesota claim even misdemeanors committed years ago are keeping qualified applicants from getting interviews and job offers with the Minneapolis-based discount chain.

The Pioneer Press says ten complaints have been filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for unfair hiring practices.

"One person out of 150 [Minnesotans with criminal histories who applied to work at Target stores in the past year] had an interview and had a job offer," Dan McGrath, TakeAction's executive director, told the newspaper. "And then that job offer was rescinded once they did a criminal background check and found she had a record."

Target denies any wrongdoing and told the Star Tribune that company officials have previously talked with TakeAction Minnesota about its hiring practices.

“We explained that Target’s criminal background check process is carefully designed to ensure that we provide a safe and secure working and shopping environment for our team members and guests while treating all candidates fairly,” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in a statement. “The existence of a criminal record does not disqualify a candidate for employment at Target, unless it indicates an unreasonable risk to the safety and welfare of our guests, our team members or our property.”

The complaints were filed as a group of contract workers who clean Target stores and other big-box retailers in the Twin Cities metro plan to walk off their jobs this weekend unless labor talks improve.

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