Target lays off hundreds at home in retreat from Canada

Feb 11, 2015, 7:21am HST  Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Target Corp., which is opening two new stores in Hawaii next month, is cutting 550 jobs at its Minnesota headquarters and another 170 in India as it winds down operations related to its ill-fated expansion to Canada, the company said Wednesday.

The Minnesota positions are all headquarters jobs, with 350 being eliminated Wednesday, according to a statement by the Minneapolis-based retailer. The remaining workers will be cut after the Canadian stores are liquidated.

"This is a difficult day for the Target team but we continue to believe that the steps we are taking are the right ones for the company," Target spokeswoman Katie Boylan said in a statement.


Hamilton Nolan, a Senior Writer for the Internet 
Publication GAWKER has had 2 interesting Target articles.  

Here are some teasers of what was said on those posts, take a look at the full articles if you have time.  

The articles and many comments may be of more interest to those working at HQ or in Minneapolis.

Here is the info from the Gawker site:

Target Headquarters "In Desperate Need of Help," Says Employee

We received the following email from a current mid-level employee at Target's headquarters in Minnesota. This represents just one person's experience inside the center of the Target bulls-eye. But it does contain some fascinating insights into their workplace culture. We've bolded a few parts that stood out to us. 

"When I started, they were so excited about getting "Buy online, pick up in store" as if that was some new invention. How many other stores have that and do it better than Target? Regular customers don't even know about it, because people hate Target's website. They've tried starting a Netflix like service, or a subscription service, but no one knows about them and they are just copycats of what other businesses are doing. 

Target has no original ideas, they are just reacting to what other companies are doing and jumping the bandwagon. 

They have a culture that makes decision via consensus, so it takes FOREVER to make a decision and implement even the smallest change. That keeps them from being able to make the necessary changes, and they won't ever get there without a big change in leadership and a true vision beyond "keep the doors open". . . If Target doesn't make a serious change in their leadership and culture, it will end up being a Kmart, a Sears, or even worse a Circuit City. The Twin Cities would be devastated - around 15,000 people work for Target HQ at one of their numerous sites in the Twin Cities."

Entire post is at: http://gawker.com/target-headquarters-in-desperate-need-of-help-says-e-1573101642

This article/post was later followed by:

Target's Biggest Challenge: Employees Complaining to Gawker

Last week, we brought you the words of an employee at Target's headquarters lamenting the way that the company is run. Now, one of Target's top executives has seen fit to respond to these criticisms. Which is a perfect opportunity for us to expand upon them.

 Yesterday, Jeff Jones, Target's Chief Marketing Officer, sent an impassioned message titled "The Truth Hurts" to all of Target's employees, and then published the message in full on LinkedIn. In it, he cites Target's recent data breach and the departure of its CEO as reasons for a "difficult" past five months. But those things are minor compared to a single post on Gawker.com:

"You'd think that these two incidents alone would create enough pain to last a brand a lifetime but one of the most challenging things that has happened, in my opinion, have been reports, some attributed to unnamed team members, that paint a picture of a culture that is in crisis. When a recent post on a well-known blog called me out by name, it only felt right that I should respond.

In reading this account of life at Target, I've gone through a range of emotions – first anger, then wondering why any team member would say what they said. And while it was difficult for me to read this account for many reasons, the reality is that our team members speaking with honesty is a gift.

Because much of what they are saying is true. While we would have preferred to have a conversation like this with the team member directly, speaking openly and honestly, and challenging norms is exactly what we need to be doing today and every day going forward."

We certainly applaud the commitment of EVP Jeff Jones and the rest of the Target management team to transparency. And we are here to help them on their quest for truth. 

As to Jeff Jones' dismay that a Target employee would not share their concerns internally: perhaps their reluctance is due to the fact that complaining internally is traditionally seen as a good reason to fire employees, as Target store managers have told us. As to Jeff Jones' befuddlement as to why a Target employee would complain about Target in the first place: perhaps it is due to the fact that Target is a stringently anti-labor corporation which pumps out a steady stream of insulting propaganda to convince its low-paid workers not to organize to better their own conditions.

But that is just a guess on our part.

Of course, we want to offer Jeff Jones something more than our pet theories about what is wrong with Target. Something more concrete. Something like... this email from a veteran current Target employee, about management problems at the store level. We received it last week. Please consider this our gift to the Target Crusade for Truth

"The issues I have witnessed, and been a part of at a store level are nearly reprehensible. First and foremost, management at a store level is a complete joke. The pyramid of management goes Store Team Leader (STL-1), Executive Team Leaders (ETL's- 3-7), Senior Team Leaders (3-8), and Team Leads (6-14). In order to move anywhere past an ETL position, which is basically an assistant store manager, you have to have a four year degree, regardless of how good you are, or the leadership qualities you display on a daily basis. I have witnessed fantastic Senior Team Leaders stall in their position for years, in one case ten years, because he didn't have a four year degree and I would have followed that guy anywhere. He can't advance, has topped out on pay raises, and can't afford to leave because he supports his wife and three children.

ETL's are basically brand new college graduates. I've never seen an ETL [over] the age of 28. They are fresh from college and they don't know anything about the company, the culture, or how to properly run a store, area, or even use the computer systems. They have to be taught by regular team members. STL's and ETL's are only allowed to stay at one store for 18 months before they are shipped to another store and this can have drastic effects on team members and management as a whole. Team members have to rework everything for a new boss every 18 months because they change processes, sometimes going against the SOP and it is extremely frustrating...

Also retaliation is considered the norm among management when it comes to team member complaints. I have only ever seen one team member take the proper steps to make a complaint about sexual harassment by a female ETL not get fired or quit within 6 months. He complained to the store leader, nothing happened and the behavior continued to get worse. He called Target's hotline and two days later he was in the office being told if he needed up finding new employment they would be happy to help. His hours were cut and he suddenly started getting written up for things no one ever get written up for. 8 months [passed], he refused to quit, new management came in and it stopped, but his file has so many red flags he is considered a problem team member and has been told he will not be promoted based on his file due to these incidents.

The original email about Target HQ is spot on. Recently raises were given out, and no one got above three percent. I was told all evaluations were sent back to stores with a requirement that all evaluations needed to be down graded one grade regardless of performance because Target couldn't pay for the pay increases. It is impossible to get the max pay raise and I've never heard of anyone getting it, regardless of performance."

Entire post is found at: 



Virginia Gentles v. Target Corporation

This suit was filed 1/22/15 in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles (Case #BC570020) and is comprised of 4 Counts:

1)  False Imprisonment

2)  Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

3)  Negligence

4   Wrongful Death

Here are some extracts from the Virginia Gentles v. Target Corporation suit which is carried in full at http://gentlesvtarget.blogspot.com/, some of this is already familiar to you but other info may not be:

*  Mr. Graham Gentles worked at Defendant's Pasadena store.  Mr. Gentles' job title was Cashier.

*  On July 15, 2014, at about 1:50 pm, Mr. Gentles arrived at the Pasadena Target store prior to the beginning of his shift which began 2:00 pm.  Mr. Gentles typically arrived about 10 minutes early for work.

*  When Mr. Gentles arrived at the front entrance on this date, he was met by police and Target store security personnel which included Defendants Anthony Mims and Charles Godinez.

*  At the direction of Defendants Anthony Mims and Charles Godinez, the police grabbed Mr. Gentles at the front entrance, emptied his pockets, pulled his hat off his head, handcuffed him and then led him along with Defendants Anthony Mims and Charles Godinez and Target security personnel from the front entrance in front of the registers, past guest services (where there are a lot of employees and customers) and then through the double doors to the AP2 office of Target's Pasadena store.

*  At the direction of Defendants Anthony Mims and Charles Godinez, Mr. Gentles was then forcibly detained by Target security personnel and the police in Target's AP2 office where he was questioned.  Some time later, Mr. Gentles was taken to a police car and then taken to the police department.

*  Plaintiff is informed and believe that Mr. Gentles was never charged with any crime and was released the same day by the police.

*  Plaintiff is informed and believes that Defendants Mims and Godinez were acting pursuant to Target policy in instigating Mr. Gentles' arrest and subjecting him to the Walk of Shame.

*  Plaintiff's imprisonment at the direction of Defendants Anthony Mims and Charles Godinez and was part of a Target's policy known as "Walk of Shame".  The Walk of Shame is a Target policy to purposefully cause shame, embarrassment and emotional distress to any Target employee who is suspected of stealing from Target Corporation.  The policy consists of suspected employees being arrested and paraded in hand-cuffs through the Target store in full view of co-workers and store customers.

*  Plaintiff is informed and believes that the Walk of Shame has happened on numerous occasions to Target employees suspected of stealing from Target.

*  Plaintiff is informed and believes that Target initiated an investigation of Mr. Gentles several months before his arrest related to a verbal altercation that Mr. Gentles had with another Target co-worker at a bar outside of work hours.

*  Plaintiff is informed and believes that allegations made by this other co-worker led Defendants Anthony Mims and Charles Godinez and Target security personnel to instigate the arrest and detention of Mr. Gentles and to subject him to the Walk of Shame.

*  Mr. Gentles committed suicide on July 18, 2014, three days after his arrest was instigated by Defendants Mims and Godinez and Mr. Gentles being subjected to the "Walk of Shame" at the Pasadena store.

*  Defendants' conduct was a substantial factor in causing harm to Mr. Gentles.

*  Defendants did not have any reasonable basis to believe that Mr. Gentles had committed a crime at any Target store at the time that its security personnel instigated the arrest of Mr. Gentles.

*  Defendants and Does 1 through 100 inclusive, and each of them, had the duty to exercise ordinary care towards the decedent Graham Gentles and should have known that subjecting Mr. Gentles to false imprisonment would foreseeably cause Plaintiff to suffer severe emotional distress and that it is foreseeable that some individuals who experience severe emotional distress will attempt suicide.