Target Says Sorry For Absurdly Offensive Training Manual

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 11 2013 9:54 AM

Target Regrets Reminding Managers That Not All Hispanics Wear Sombreros, Eat Tacos

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Shoppers pay for their merchandise at a Target store May 23, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois

File photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Target is doing some damage control in the wake of the revelation that someone within the company thought it necessary to create and use a training document that reminded warehouse managers that not all Hispanic employees wear sombreros and eat tacos.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

"It is never Target’s intent to offend our team members or guests and we apologize," spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Huffington Post, which was among the outlets to previously highlight a lawsuit from three ex-employees who say they were fired after complaining to HR about what sounds like a highly questionable work environment.

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The trio—Robert Gonzalez, Bulmaro Fabian and Pedro Garcia-Ayala—says they were often subjected to racial slurs from their warehouse superiors, who were almost universally white. But it's the training document that is the most shockingly absurd part of their case, if for no other reason than someone took the time to actually put pen to paper to come up with these offensive descriptions of Hispanic employees for a document titled, I kid you not, "Organization Effectiveness, Employee and Labor Relations Multi-Cultural Tips." (Note: the following is from the lawsuit, not the document itself—although Snyder confirms the document exists) Via Courthouse News Service:

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.

For what it's worth, Snyder says the document was only used at one distribution center, and is not representative of the company's larger work culture. "This document, which was used during conversations at one distribution center, was never part of any formal or company-wide training," she said. "We take accountability for its contents and are truly sorry."

(h/t AtlanticWire)

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