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Target sued for discrimination, memo that not all Hispanics eat tacos

A new lawsuit against Target alleges some pretty heinous racial discrimination and even a memo meant to educate that notes not all Mexicans eat tacos or wear sombreros. Uh oh.

spending money at target

spending money at target

Target tip sheet and manager behavior in the spotlight

Target is at the center of a newly filed lawsuit in Yolo County, California as Robert Gonzalez, Bulmaro Fabian and Pedro Garcia-Ayala are suing for punitive damages for harassment, failure to prevent harassment, age and race discrimination, and retaliation.

Alongside poor managerial behavior alleged, court documents outline a “multi-cultural tips” memo sent to managers at a distribution center to educate them about Hispanic employees which are being used as proof of the organization’s discriminatory practices:

“Target provided its distribution warehouse managers a document titled, ‘Organization Effectiveness, Employee and Labor Relations Multi-Cultural Tips,’” the complaint states. “This document instructs managers to note differences among Hispanic employees, and states the following:
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.”

Only a wetback can work this hard

The plaintiffs point out that nearly all management positions were occupied by Caucasians that regularly used racial slurs. The complaint states that managers said things like “Only a ‘wetback’ can work this hard,” “I’m already sweating like a Mexican,” and “You [sic] got to be Mexican to work like this.”

When one employee reported the behavior to human resources, he alleges his supervisors retaliated for it by increasing the use of racial epithets and allegedly throwing boxes on the ground, ordering Gonzalez to retrieve them in an attempt to humiliate the Hispanic employee. All three employees were fired and now claim they were fired with racial animus, and because Gonzalez and Faiban were 58, they say their age was a factor.

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It is one thing for a company to have a rogue manager, but for documents like this to be circulated, a deeper problem may be a factor for Target, which is surprising given their typically positive culture. If all of this is true, watch for Target to tighten their tolerance belt.

Written By

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. TxTeacherFedUp

    July 18, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Can’t stand Target. They are snooty and try to present themselves as something better than what they are – just another big box store…not an upscale posh bougie boutique. Wake Up, America!!!!

  2. doodlebug2222

    August 4, 2013 at 3:04 am

    These mangers obviously were allowed to manage their section as they deemed fit. Their memo was of a personal nature, was not constructive and it seemed all of them were allowed to run rampant w/o interference from their supervisors.

    When employees are treated with such disrespect one has to ask themselves, “How then do they treat the customers”… When a company is unaware of their managers in one location, behaving in such a fashion on a continual basis, one then has to ask themselves “How do they then run their company”.

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