Macy’s settles lawsuit over criminal background checks

Macy’s settles lawsuit over criminal background checks

Excerpted from FN story by Sheena Butler-Young

Macy’s Inc. and The Fortune Society Inc. have agreed to settle a lawsuit that accused the department store of using an unnecessarily punitive criminal history screening policy that inadvertently discriminated against minority candidates.

The suit, filed by Fortune Society in June 2019 in the Southern District of New York, alleged that Macy’s policy of performing sweeping background checks disproportionately disqualified Black and Latino applicants and employees from job opportunities in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law.

Macy’s has agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle the suit as well as take additional steps to stay in compliance with the New York City Fair Chance Act, which seeks to ensure that individuals with criminal history records are evaluated fairly during the hiring process.

“Macy’s is a New York City icon providing good job opportunities and we welcome the steps it is taking to ensure compliance with the New York City Fair Chance Act to the benefit of all New Yorkers, including Fortune participants,” said JoAnne Page, Fortune’s president and CEO, in a statement announcing the settlement.

Macy’s, which was among the first major fashion retail names to hire a chief diversity and inclusion officer in 2018, has since been vocal about its aggressive strategy to boost diversity and inclusion across its enterprise. That strategy, which was revamped even further last year, is composed of a “five-part approach” that includes a requirement for 50% representation of gender/gender identity, ethnicity, age, size and disabled persons in its advertising by 2020; 30% ethnic diversity at the senior director level and above by 2025; and a plan to achieve diverse supplier spend of at least 5% by 2021.

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