TakeAction protesters challenge Target's hiring practices

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May 7, 2012 // UPDATED 2:09 pm - May 9, 2012
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

About 200 protesters with TakeAction Minnesota marched into Target Corp.'s headquarters on Nicollet Mall earlier today to seek changes in the way the company's screens prospective employees.

Chanting "Red Shirts. Khaki Pants. All we want is a chance," the protesters marched from Peavey Plaza into Target headquarters over the noon hour. Officials from the HR team met with the group and agreed to a meeting May 29 to discuss the hiring process, said Greta Bergstrom, communications director for TakeAction MN

The organization is asking Target Corp. to lead the way to make it easier for people seeking employment with minor criminal offenses on their records to secure jobs.

Protesters handed out fliers on Nicollet Mall explaining their cause. "People re-entering society after a sentence in the criminal justice system are just that: people. Having done their time, they are searching for opportunties to get back on their feet, contribute to society and provide for their families. But a criminal record greatly hinders employment opportunities, blocking people from entering the workforce and accomplishing these things."

TakeAction MN has focused on Target Corp. because it's one of the state's largest employers and has a history of being a leader in taking on important community causes, Bergstrom said.

The organization is asking Target to do the following when considering new hires: 1) remove questions about criminal records from initial employment applications; 2) ignore non-conviction records or cases that have been expunged or pardoned; 3) consider criminal records only when they directly relate to the position sought by the applicant; and 4) allow applicants to show evidence of rehabilitation from a previous criminal act. 

Click here to see a video of the protest.  

Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Target Corp., said the company is committed to following all federal, state and local laws.

"Target’s background check process is carefully designed to ensure that we provide a safe and secure working and shopping environment for our team members and guests while treating all candidates fairly," she said. "The existence of a criminal record does not disqualify a candidate for employment at Target, unless it indicates an unreasonable risk to the safety and welfare of our guests, our team members or our property."