Target rejected a Black woman’s job application in North Carolina until she applied under a different race and less ethnic name.
Naturi Greene told The Insider that she had received several rejection letters from Target over the years, but that changed when she applied as “Tori,” a mixed-race woman, for a position as a guest advocate. Greene filled out the application for the same job she had applied for weeks before. Her application was accepted this time.
“I’m not sure how discrimination can be proven,” Greene told Insider. “However, as a person of color in America, I can’t help but believe that is the case.”
Greene said she joked with her boyfriend about applying for the job as a different race after her Naturi application was denied on May 18. On July 3, she applied as Tori.
According to Target spokesperson Brian Harper-Tibaldo, the store in Charlotte where Green applied for a job was not hiring when she applied in May, and the position opened weeks later. Greene’s rejection letter, however, did not mention that the store was not hiring and that the position had been filled when the woman searched for open jobs.
Green said, “It’s difficult to believe the store wasn’t hiring at the time if the position was still available to apply for on the website.”
Greene’s job-hunting experience with Target is not unusual, according to reports. In 2015, the major retailer was ordered to pay $2.8 million after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discovered that three employment assessments discriminated against applicants based on race and gender. Target agreed to a $510,000 settlement in 2007 after Kalisha White submitted an application under the name Sarah Brucker, while her real name was rejected at a Wisconsin store. Despite the fact that White’s Brucker résumé reflected less experience, the second application resulted in an interview.
Greene shared her story in a TikTok video, which has received hundreds of thousands of views. She claims that others have approached her with similar stories of discrimination. Journee Yawna, another TikToker, said her application for a different job was denied in March but accepted the next day when she applied as a Caucasian.
“There are many jobs that appear to be discriminatory,” Greene said. “People have been generally supportive simply because they have been through similar experiences.”
Economists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago sent over 83,000 bogus applications to 108 of the largest employers in the United States. They discovered that applications with “distinctively” Black names reduce the likelihood of employer callbacks by 2.1 percentage points when compared to applications with “distinctively” white names. The researchers applied for the jobs with identical resumes but different names for the study that will be updated in February 2022. Researchers also discovered that the white-black callback rate is higher in positions where employees interact with customers in person.
Following the revelation, Greene stated that she no longer wishes to work at Target.
“I don’t want to work somewhere where I wouldn’t be hired for who I am,” she explained. “All I want is for people of all races to be treated equally and to have equal access to opportunities.”