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Target Discrimination Lawsuit: Workers Allege Racist Comments

Image: Target Discrimination Lawsuit: Workers Allege Racist Comments

Friday, 12 Jul 2013 01:45 PM

By Teresa Meek

A discrimination lawsuit has been filed against Target by former workers at a Woodland, Calif., distribution center who allege that a company document contained negative statements about Hispanics and that managers often used racial slurs.

The Daily Democrat in Woodland said it obtained a copy of the document, titled “Employee and Labor-Relations Multi-Cultural Tips.” Included in the four-page document was a section that read as follows, according to the Democrat:

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“There are many cultural, behavioral and attitudinal differences between Hispanics of different countries of origin," then goes on to describe some of those differences, such as:

"Food: not everyone eats tacos and burritos.

"Music: not everyone dances to salsa; there are more music styles than mariachi.

"Dress: not everyone wears a sombrero.”

The document also stated that when Hispanics don’t understand instructions, “They may say ‘OK, OK’ and pretend to understand, when they do not, just to save face,” the Democrat reported.

"The content of the document referenced is not representative of who Target is," Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Democrat. "We strive at all times to be a place where our team and guests feel welcome, valued and respected. This document, which was used during conversations at one distribution center, was never part of any formal or company-wide training. We take accountability for its contents and are truly sorry."

Target has been sued for discrimination before. In 2007, it was ordered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pay $775,000 to settle a discrimination suit that the EEOC said violated the Civil Rights Act by “creating a creating and condoning a racially hostile work environment at its Springfield, Pa. store” and retaliating against a black employee who complained.

In 2011, the company was ordered to pay $160,000 in discrimination suit filed by a worker who had cerebral palsy. The company reduced the worker’s hours dramatically after he took medical leave for a seizure and failed to accommodate for his disability, the EEOC said.

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