Federal Agency Charged Nationwide Retailer Failed to Interview Qualified Applicant Because He Was Deaf
SAN FRANCISCO – Minnesota-based Target Corporation will pay $45,000 and make changes to its hiring and training practices to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, during hiring for the holiday season at a Target in Antioch, Calif., a deaf applicant submitted his resume on line. Target determined he met the minimum qualifications for various open positions. Target called him twice to schedule an interview and each time the hiring staff hung up without leaving a message, realizing that he is deaf because he used a Video Relay Service (VRS). The applicant returned both calls from Target within minutes of learning through his VRS that he had missed their calls. Even though he called Target four more times, Target never scheduled him for an interview and rejected him for hire, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on disability or perceived disability. The EEOC filed suit on Sept. 21, 2018 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, Case No. 3:18-cv-05802-EMC, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
The consent decree settling the lawsuit provides $45,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to the applicant. Target will also maintain and implement policies and procedures regarding reasonable accommodations, explain to employees their rights and responsibilities under EEO law, provide annual training to certain managers, supervisors and human resource staff, and report to the EEOC during the decree’s three-year term.
“Combating hiring discrimination based on disability is a top priority for the EEOC,” said EEOC Oakland Acting Local Director Dana Johnson. “The ADA was enacted to ensure that qualified individuals with a disability have the same chance at gaining employment as people without disabilities.”
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Debra A. Smith added, “Under this settlement, Target improves its hiring and employment practices and trains its employees to understand their rights and responsibilities under the ADA.”
According to its website, Target is an upscale discount retailer with more than 1,850 stores in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and 40 distribution centers nationwide. It employs more than 350,000 people. It opened its first store in 1963.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.