Ex-Target workers sue, alleging discrimination based on race

Published 12:45 pm Thursday, July 11, 2013

FRESNO, Calif. — Three former Target employees are suing the nation’s second-largest discount chain for discrimination and retaliation, citing alleged racial slurs from managers and a training document that included stereotypical portrayals of Hispanics.

The lawsuit, filed recently in Northern California’s Yolo County, says that workers who complained about the conditions at a distribution center in Woodland were fired.

The complaint alleges that white managers regularly used racial epithets when speaking with Hispanic workers.

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Also, according to the complaint, the training document used negative stereotypes and stated: “Food: not everyone eats tacos and burritos; Music: not everyone dances to salsa; Dress: not everyone wears a sombrero; Mexicans (lower education level, some may be undocumented).”

It also stated that Hispanics “may say ‘OK, OK’ and pretend to understand, when they do not, just to save face.”

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said she could not comment on the allegations in the lawsuit, because the Minneapolis-based company has not yet been served with the complaint.

She said the company doesn’t “tolerate or condone discrimination in any form” and has policies and procedures in place to prevent unfair treatment.

The company, however, has apologized for the content of the training document. Snyder said in a statement that the instructional guide wasn’t part of any “formal or company-wide training” and was only used at one distribution center.

“The content of the document referenced is not representative of who Target is,” Snyder said. “We take accountability for its contents and are truly sorry.”

Target Corp. is the nation’s second-largest discount chain with 2013 revenue of $73.3 billion.

The lawsuit, filed June 24, seeks unspecified damages.