Life at Target: Hard Knocks Off the Clock

It is simply not possible to refrain from publishing constant new stories about the indignities of working at Target, America's most clean and attractive union-busting big box store. There are all too many current and former Target employees anxious to send us stories of exploitation and generally disgraceful workplace conditions!

Earlier this week we told you about a former Target manager suing the store for being fired for working off the clock (though he essentially had no choice). Target veterans sent us their own stories of similar situations. After these posts ran, we were contacted by a private investigator working on behalf of a law firm to investigate similar labor abuses at Target, and by a nonprofit organizer interested in starting a campaign on behalf of Target workers. Any Target employees interested in speaking to them can find their contact info at the bottom of this post.

We were also contacted by several more Target employees who shared their own stories. Some are negative, some are not, but all are illuminating. A sampling:

Male vs. female managers

I work at Target as an overnight team member on the flow team. We have two male Team Leads who will work off the clock on the computers about thirty minutes before they are to clock in. The ETL's know it and have said nothing to them. The store ETL does too and has said nothing to them. We have a female Team Lead who was scolded for being on the computer before she was clocked in. They treat the males different than the females at our store. It's obvious, sad and disgusting. When we are hired we are told we are full time and that we will have no less than 32 hours a week. There are many of us who are scheduled 21-28 hours a week during the down time. Right now there are many who are only given three days a week and we are in the forth quarter!! They said it's because of payroll but then we can't get the floor done on time because we don't have enough people. We just want to scream! Our Team Leads should be able to get overtime and definitely get paid for the time they work off the clock. It's logistics. They can't just come in and have their plan in action. They have emails to look over and the grid. I've been at Target for a year and a half and I am now looking for something else because I don't like the way Target treats their people. I've been offered a Team Lead position but turned it down. I don't want to have to deal with what the other Team Leads have to deal with. Especially since I'm a woman. It's really bad and I don't see it getting better anytime soon. Good luck to you. I hope you win!!!

The problem with bulk deals

I worked there last year as an interim job while I was searching for "real" employment. I was hired on the "Plano" team which basically changes out the store for new holidays and changed prices as new product came in. I was on the 4am-Noon shift and would often have to help with unloading the trucks. First let me mention that everything at Target is timed. How long does it take you to scan consecutive items, how long to enter keystrokes on your PDA, how long to scan products at checkout. This isn't really surprising as the faster you work, supposedly, the more efficient you are, right? Wrong. In an effort to not get written up for being too slow workers were forced to unload the truck at an unrealistic pace. On several occasions the truck had been so improperly packed that a wall of merchandise fell down on the worker (and were not talking about $9.99 pillows). They would come out from under the pile with black eyes, cuts and bruises and expected to go back to work. Also, when you see the bulk deals for electronics like TV's and Computers think again before buying from a Target. I had to complain to the Store Manager about the mistreatment of product by the Shift Manager responsible for unloading the truck. TV's were flipped end over end off the conveyor belt to make more room, often times landing face down with a muffled "slap". I could go on, but these were some of the stories that stand out in my mind.

About Target's policy of not hiring an employee they've fired before

I worked there the holiday season 2002-2003 but can never work at a Target again as I could not work my last scheduled day. Which was the day my dad died. 01/02/03.

Clock management and puke

I currently work at Target while I am still in school. Just wanted to share some of my own experiences.

-On several occasions I have told managers I am going on lunch 15 minutes before hitting my fifth hour. They'll push a project or something that needs to get done on me, saying I'll have more than enough time to do it before my fifth hour. I'll bust my ass to get it done, clock out at exactly my fifth and get written up and a lecture about how they can be fined for me not taking my break on time. If I turn down the project and say I'll do it after lunch? I get written up and a lecture about team work and my "bad" attitude. Apparently compliance with CA State Law is not a Target-friendly attitude.
-I was being sexually harassed by a coworker who also told me he was going to kill himself after finding out I have a boyfriend. I told HR. HR casually told seven people who weren't involved in any way, who then spread it throughout the entire store.
-Rarely do we have all of the cleaning equipment we are supposed to in our cleaning stations. Even when we do have gloves, they are so cheap they rip and disintegrate within 30 seconds. Yet I am still expected to clean up someone's puke. Today there wasn't even a broom and dust pan to use, I had to use a piece of cardboard.

On vs. off the clock

I was a store manager at Target for five years. Working off the clock was a huge issue for hourly employees and managers—managers who ask employees to work off the clock, condone it, or don't report it are subject to corrective action. The whole point is to pay people for the work they do. The people complaining about getting in trouble for working off the clock would be the first people complaining if Target asked them to do it.

A strict company

First off i would not like to be mentioned by name. But i do work at Target and it really is a Zero tolerance on working off the clock. But it kind of does suck when we are by law supposed to take at LEAST 30 minutes for lunch in CA, but Target makes us take 45 Minute lunches. It is also kind of hard to get food from the grocery section for our lunch, without having to be stopped and asked a question.

As far as the person with the lawsuit on your site, if he was a "Manager" they are Salary and are always "On the clock, even not in uniform" But us Team Members cannot even "Talk about work, without being clocked in" even a simple "What would you like me to do when i come in to work tmrw" is not allowed unless on the clock.

Love Target, and its culture. But they are starting to become a strict company.

Resources for Target Employees

Joseph P. Soldis, an investigator with California Judicial Investigations. He says: "This case came about after several Target employees complained that they were not being permitted to take their breaks, working through breaks, or even being asked to do things after the clocked out and were on their way home. We have the attention of a law firm that is reviewing the results of the investigation. I expect that if we receive enough responses from current and former members of Target, something will be done to correct this practice." You can email him here.

William Winters, senior organizer for economic justice at Change.org, can be contacted by email here.

[Photo via AP]