Target will pay compensation to more than 3,000 people whose rights were allegedly violated under federal discrimination laws, as part of a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced August 24.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are barred from subjecting job applicants to pre-offer medical inquiries. Exceptions arise when the inquiry is conducted solely to determine the applicant’s ability to perform job-related functions, and when the employer conditions job offers on passage of a medical examination, provided that its consistent with business necessity.
In its investigation, the EEOC found that one of Target’s assessments for new job applicants, which was used for upper-level management positions, constituted an illegal pre-offer medical inquiry.
Target has stopped using the tests.
“We applaud Target for taking corrective action to ensure the validity of their hiring practices,” EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang said in a news release. “This resolution demonstrates the benefits of working with the EEOC and serves as a model for businesses committed to effective and lawful selection procedures.”
The EEOC also found Target’s job applications discriminated against potential employees on the basis of race and gender.
“The tests were not sufficiently job-related,” EEOC Attorney Julie Schmid told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “It’s not something in particular about the contents of the tests. The tests on their face were neutral. Our statistical analysis showed an adverse impact. They disproportionately screened out people in particular groups.”
Also under the agreement, Target must hire an outside consultant to provide a minimum of 2 hours of training each year to all employees on appropriate record keeping, ADA requirements and other aspects of employment discrimination law. The settlement does not require Target to admit wrongdoing.
In 2011, the EEOC settled with Target in a case where the agency accused the company of failing to reasonably accommodate a former employee with seizures. That agreement required Target to submit annual reports to the EEOC regarding certain types of disability discrimination cases.
Three years prior to that, Target settled with the National Federation of the Blind for $6 million in a lawsuit challenging its website’s accessibly.