Target Settles Employee’s Late Lunch Firing Suit

May 21, 2012

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $275,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former employee at one of its Northern California stores who said she was fired because she took her lunch breaks late.

The settlement comes after Margarita Arriaga, who had worked as a cashier and at other jobs at the retailer’s Woodland store for more than 16 years, sued after she was fired last June, the Sacramento Bee reported Saturday.

In court filings, Target said that Arriaga was fired for taking lunch breaks late three times in 18 months, including one break that she took two minutes late.

The company said that the violations are “automatic ground for termination.”

But in her suit, claiming discrimination and lack of accommodation because of a diagnosed disability, Arriaga said she had trouble keeping track of time because of her disability.

She also said that when she applied to the Employment Development Department for unemployment benefits, Target falsely accused her of conduct which the retailer said was the equivalent of a voluntary resignation.

Target acknowledged in court papers that Arriaga was “well-liked by her managers and peers, and she received generally satisfactory performance evaluations,” but the retailer denied that store personnel, including its managers, were aware of a disability.

In an email statement to the Bee, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the company accommodates employees and guests with disabilities and is “confident” in its policies.

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