Former Senior Director Sues Target Corporation for Discrimination, Retaliation, and Defamation
Molly Haney, a former Senior Director terminated in September 2021 after almost fourteen years of exceptional performance, has sued Target Corporation in Hennepin County alleging disability and gender discrimination, retaliation, and defamation. She is represented by Lead Counsel Larry Schaefer at Schaefer Halleen, LLC, a Minneapolis-based Firm recognized nationally for successfully litigating such claims.
Ms. Haney worked in Target’s “Corporate Responsibility” function reporting to Senior Vice President Amanda Nusz. This function is charged with developing and cultivating Target’s reputation as a “good corporate citizen” committed to diversity and inclusion, and provides oversight on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. SVP Nusz is frequently Target’s spokesperson publicly on such issues, and reports directly to Katie Boylan, Executive Vice President and Chief Communication Officer.
Despite Target, EVP Boylan and SVP Nusz publicly championing these values, the Complaint alleges that the discrimination and retaliation Ms. Haney experienced, culminating in her termination on September 24, 2021, demonstrates a fundamental hypocrisy which has permeated SVP Nusz’s leadership of this critically important function since she was assigned this role in mid-2019.
The Complaint describes Ms. Haney as a well-recognized strong leader at Target who met every expectation despite suffering from a disability – major depression and anxiety. Following the death of her mother in May 2020, for over a year Ms. Haney pleaded with SVP Nusz to implement specific accommodations for this condition to allow her to meet the increasing expectations of her role during the pandemic and following the tragic murder of George Floyd and the ensuing riots and social unrest. In response, SVP Nusz piled on more work and informed Ms. Haney that “taking any work off her plate” would be perceived negatively by Target leadership.
After Ms. Haney continued to ask SVP Nusz for these accommodations, SVP Nusz responded by terminating Ms. Haney and awarding the reduced role she was seeking to a less qualified male employee, all under the ruse of a “corporate restructuring,” according to Schaefer. “Ms. Haney’s allegations go far beyond just her individual treatment. We intend to expose a culture, created and condoned at the highest leadership levels by Nusz and Boylan, which does not allow showing any weakness such as a mental health disability and need for accommodation. Ms. Haney’s experience is all the more cruelly ironic as it came in the ESG function which is supposed to be the exemplar of corporate ‘caring’ and respect for employees with disabilities. Many witnesses will step forward in this litigation to not only confirm the disgraceful and illegal treatment of my client, but offer ‘me-too’ testimony that they were subject to the same bias and retaliation.”