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Target misses mark with multicultural training

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Minneapolis-based retailer Target is scrambling to explain a training document that surfaced at one of its Northern California distribution centers. The document purports to tell supervisors how to interact with Hispanic employees—and in the process betrays some offensive stereotypes.

The document surfaced during a discrimination lawsuit filed by three Hispanic workers against the chain. According to Target’s “Organization Effectiveness, Employee and Labor Relations Multi-Cultural Tips,” employees needed to know this about Hispanics:

  a. Food: not everyone eats tacos and burritos;

  b. Music: not everyone dances to salsa;

  c. Dress: not everyone wears a sombrero;

  d. Mexicans (lower education level, some may be undocumented);

  e. Cubans (Political refugees, legal status, higher education level); and

  f. They may say ‘OK, OK’ and pretend to understand, when they do not, just to save face.

One media report claimed Target provided the document to all supervisors, but a Target statement said it was only circulated at the California distribution center. Target has apologized.

The three former Target employees claim their white supervisors often made racial remarks, including stating that “only a ‘wetback’ would work that hard.” After they complained to HR, all three men were terminated. In addition to discrimination, their lawsuit also alleges retaliation.

Note: Make it your business to review and approve all training documents.

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