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A Black woman says Target rejected her for a job, until she applied as 'Tori' under a different race

Lindsay Dodgson,Yoonji Han   

A Black woman says Target rejected her for a job, until she applied as 'Tori' under a different race
  • In a viral TikTok video, Naturi Greene says she was rejected by Target for a job.
  • But when she changed her name to "Tori" and listed her ethnicity as "mixed race," she heard back.

After being rejected from a job at Target multiple times over the past few years, Naturi Greene decided to try a different approach. She joked to her boyfriend, who had also been denied, that if they changed their names and race on their applications, they would have gotten the job.

To test her theory, Greene, a Black woman from Charlotte, North Carolina, changed her name to "Tori" and listed her ethnicity as "mixed race." After multiple rejections as Naturi, Target offered "Tori" a job interview.

"I'm not sure how it can be proved to be discrimination," Greene told Insider. "But as a person of color in America, I can't help but to think that is the reason."

Greene posted her story on TikTok, where, as of July 20, it has been viewed nearly 264,000 times. She showed Insider screenshots of her application forms from May 18 and July 3, 2022, the first using "Naturi," which was rejected, and the second "Tori," which was accepted.

@lilbby_torii I always wondered if i l changed my name and race would i get hired..we got the answer ! I used the exact same application and applied to the same store but my name and race was changed. #racist #fyp #target ♬ original sound - cvmgvzzler

"After looking into this claim, we found that the two applications were filed several weeks apart and the store was not hiring at the time the application was rejected," Target spokesperson Brian Harper-Tibaldo told Insider.

According to the reference on the email exchange Greene showed Insider, there was a live job listing for a "Guest Advocate." There was also no mention of the store not hiring in the rejection email Greene received. Target did not respond to a request for comment on why the job was posted online if the company was not hiring at the time.

Greene told Insider the job she applied for was present in the "search jobs" section of the website.

"It's hard to believe the store was not hiring at the time if the position was still available to apply for on the website," she said.

Target has been sued multiple times for allegedly discriminatory hiring practices

Target has previously faced multiple claims of discriminatory hiring practices, which have resulted in legal settlements and vows to change their hiring procedures. More than 20 years ago, Kalisha White, who is Black, suspected her application for a job at a Target in Wisconsin was being ignored because of her race. She sent in another one under another name, Sarah Brucker — and scored an interview, even though the fake resume was less credentialed than White's.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that enforces civil rights laws involving hiring practices, sued Target on behalf of White and three other Black job applicants, resulting in a $510,000 settlement.

In 2015, Target also paid a $2.8 million fee and agreed to change its job applicant tracking system after the EEOC found it was screening candidates based on race and sex. Then, just a few years later, it paid $3.74 million to settle claims that its background criminal checks discriminated against thousands of Black and Latino applicants.

Target has maintained in the settlements that it had not committed any wrongdoing, but said it would review its screening and hiring practices.

There's a 'penalty' for job applicants with 'Black-sounding' names

Studies have shown that despite a recent boom in diversity initiatives, job applicants with "Black-sounding" names are less likely to hear back from employers.

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago recently found that after sending 83,000 fictitious job applications to more than 100 Fortune 500 companies — half with traditionally white-sounding names and the other half with distinctively Black-sounding names — applicants with "Black names" were contacted 10% fewer times.

"The penalty is real," Evan Rose, a researcher at the University of Chicago and one of the study's co-authors, told Insider.

The study also found that customer-facing industries, like retail, were systematically less likely to contact applicants with distinguishable names. How the company organizes hiring internally can have an impact as well: Companies where the decision-maker is a local branch manager tend to discriminate more, whereas those with a centralized hiring representative are less likely to do so.

"What our paper established is that this problem hasn't gone away. But some firms seem to have figured out a way not to discriminate like this. The fact that some differ gives us hope that there is a way to address these discrepancies," Rose said.

Other creators shared similar stories of discrimination

Greene said people have been sharing their own experiences of discrimination with her since she posted her video, which she believes is indicative of a larger problem in hiring.

"It's many jobs that seem to be discriminatory," she said. "People have generally been supportive simply because they have been through the same thing."

In March this year, other creators shared similar stories of discrimination when applying for jobs. TikToker Journee, said she was denied an interview for a job so she reapplied saying she was caucasian. She said she got a call the next day. Fellow TikToker Gina Banks said she finally received an offer to interview after five years of rejections from one company, but only when she applied as a white woman.

Greene said after her experience, she has no interest in attending the interview with Target.

"I don't want to work anywhere where I couldn't get hired for the person I am," she said. "I would just like to see people of all races treated equally and have access to the same opportunities."


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