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Target settles employment discrimination complaints for $2.8M

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Target Corp. has agreed to pay $2.8 million to settle a complaint that its screening process for certain job applicants was discriminatory.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the settlement Monday.

The settlement money will be distributed to more than 3,000 job candidates who were rejected for upper-level positions at Target because some of the tests they were given disproportionately screened out applicants in particular groups, primarily blacks, Asians and women, the Star Tribune reports.

Julie Schmid, acting director for the EEOC in Minneapolis, said three of the company's employment assessments were "not sufficiently job-related."

“It’s not something in particular about the contents of the tests," she explained to the Star Tribune. But, she added, "our statistical analysis showed an adverse impact."

The EEOC said it also determined that another screening tool Target used in its hiring process violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The agency said the assessment, which was conducted by psychologists on behalf of Target, amounted to a pre-employment medical exam which is illegal under the ADA.

The complaint against Target was filed in 2006, and the screening tests were given to candidates for higher-level "exempt" positions, typically salaried workers in managerial, supervisory and leadership roles.

Target stopped using the assessments in question while the investigation was going on.

A Target spokeswoman said the company does not believe it did anything improper, but decided to settle because the assessments involved are no longer being used and because litigation would be costly, the Star Tribune notes.

The amount of money each affected person receives from the settlement will vary, based on the consequences each one experienced, Schmid said, according to the Star Tribune.

As part of the settlement, the company has also agreed to improve its record keeping to track its testing processes for any sort of bias, and will share its findings with the EEOC each year.

"We are pleased that Target chose to work with us to reach this conciliation agreement," said Julianne Bowman, director of EEOC's Chicago's District Office. "Through our joint efforts, we have been able to bring about real change at Target without resorting to protracted litigation."

The Minneapolis Area Office is part of EEOC's Chicago District.

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