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Target Market News has introduced Black Business Chicago, a new monthly which will spotlight news and features on Chicago's African-American businesses, corporate executives and local economic issues. The publication will also be supplemented by a Web site, blackbusinesschicago.com, that will provide updated coverage of relevant business news on a daily and weekly basis between issues of the monthly print publication. Click for more ____________________________________

Buying Power report: Blacks spend as economy grows
New 16th edition shows $507 bil in spending



The finding comes from the 16th annual edition of "The Buying Power of Black America" report. In 2009, black households spent an estimated $507 billion in 27 product and services categories. ...

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Pepsi Beverages to pay $3.1 million to settle federal racial discrimination suit

(January 15, 2012) Pepsi Beverages Co. will pay $3.1 million to settle federal charges of race discrimination for using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants -- even if they weren't convicted of a crime.

The settlement announced with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is part of a national government crackdown on hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

EEOC officials said the company's policy of not hiring workers with arrest records disproportionately excluded more than 300 black applicants. The policy barred applicants who had been arrested, but not convicted of a crime, and denied employment to others who were convicted of minor offenses.

Using arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal if it's irrelevant for the job, according to the EEOC, which enforces the nation's employment discrimination laws. The agency says such blanket policies can limit job opportunities for minorities with higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.

The company has since adopted a new criminal background policy and plans to make jobs available to victims of the old policy if they are still interested in jobs at Pepsi and are qualified for the openings.

"I commend Pepsi's willingness to reexamine its policy and modify it to ensure that unwarranted roadblocks to employment are removed," EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline Berrien said in a statement.

Pepsi Beverage spokesman Dave DeCecco said the company's criminal background check policy has always been neutral and that the EEOC did not find any intentional discrimination. He said after the issue was first raised in 2006, the company worked with the EEOC to revise its background check process "to create a workplace that is as diverse and inclusive as possible."

"We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and we have been widely recognized for our efforts for decades," DeCecco said.

He said the new policy would take a more "individualized approach" in considering the applicant's criminal history against the particular job being sought.

Pepsi Beverages is PepsiCo's beverage manufacturing, sales and distribution operating unit in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Under the settlement, the company will provide the EEOC with regular reports on its hiring practices and offer antidiscrimination training to its hiring personnel and managers.

About 73 percent of major employers report that they always check on applicants' criminal records, while 19 percent do so for select job candidates, according to a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

But increased federal scrutiny of such policies has led some companies to reevaluate their hiring process. Pamela Devata, a Chicago employment lawyer who has represented companies trying to comply with EEOC's requirements, said there has been an uptick over the past year in EEOC charges over the use of background checks.

"The EEOC has taken a very aggressive enforcement posture on the use of criminal background and criminal history," Devata said.

The commission held a special meeting on the topic last summer, and Devata said employers have been expecting the EEOC to issue more specific guidance.

EEOC officials have said, for example, that an old drunken driving conviction may not be relevant to a clerical job, but a theft conviction may disqualify someone from working at a bank.

Julie Schmid, acting director of the EEOC's Minneapolis office, said the EEOC recommends that employers consider the nature and gravity of offenses, the time that has passed since conviction or completion of a sentence, and the nature of the job sought.

"We hope that employers with unnecessarily broad criminal background check policies take note of this agreement and reassess their policies to ensure compliance" with antidiscrimination laws, Schmid said in a written statement.
- Associated Press

Ford repeats as winner of Polk's Loyalty Awards with African-American consumers

Lee Bailey to present Martin Luther King special 2012 on Jan. 16th

Johnson Publishing moving its Chicago offices to new Michigan Ave. address

Gospel Today names new publisher as founder Teresa Hairston steps down

Vibe, Uptown merged with BlackBook Media and The Access Network Co.

Herbert Nipson, award-winning journalist, former Ebony executive editor, dies at 95

Sam Logan, longtime iconic Michigan Chronicle publisher, dies at the age of 78

AT&T brings back 28 Days speakers program for Black History Month

Black Cable TV Ratings for Week of Dec. 12 - 18 On cable, football makes way for reality as 'Housewives,' 'T.I. & Tiny' top chart

Black TV Ratings for Week of Dec. 5 - 11 'Sunday Night Football' nearly doubles black audience over previous week


 










































































 





 

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