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In “Target Corp. faces complaints about hiring practices” (Feb. 21), it’s reported that the retailer is being accused by the NAACP and TakeAction Minnesota of discriminating against minority applicants with criminal records.
These kinds of complaints are being encouraged by an April 2012 vote of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that warns businesses about rejecting minority job applicants with criminal records. While those with criminal records are not protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it appears that the EEOC majority believes that the rejection of a minority applicant with a criminal record is potentially the same as discrimination.
The report warns businesses that they are taking tremendous risk by using background checks, and that past arrests and convictions can be considered only if related to the job opening. One is left to wonder how a recruiter determines with certainty that past criminals will be an asset and not a liability to their business.
Target appears to be well-managed, providing thousands of jobs for Minnesotans, contributing cumulatively almost a billion dollars to education, supporting members of our military and their families, and supporting minority organizations. When corporations have to devote resources to justify why hiring someone with a criminal background might be a bad idea, everyone loses. That includes the minority that the EEOC is claiming to protect.
Wes Mader, Prior Lake
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I have been a professional forester since 1966, and I take issue with one of the references in the Feb. 24 editorial about conservation easements (“State needs more land-use safeguards”). The editorial referred to “a stunning example of how one property had been clear-cut.”
Clear-cutting, in and of itself, is not a reason to think a conservation easement has been violated. It is a valuable and completely valid method of forest management for species that depend on full sunlight for regeneration. Aspen is one species that requires complete sunlight to warm the soil and cause the roots to send up thousands of sprouts to start the next forest.
Larry Westerberg, Hastings
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.