Department store Barneys has agreed to resolve allegations that minorities were chosen as suspected shoplifters, by paying a bit over half a million dollars.
There have been several racial profiling cases files against the retailer last year and this particular case was part of those. Shoppers at the famous department store and even ex-employees have complained that customers who were part of minority groups were followed around and their credit card use was investigated even after the staff identified them as being frequent customers.
Some salespeople at Barneys have even gone as far as avoiding serving shoppers who were part of minority groups, just to avoid getting questioned by the store detectives and investigators, it was revealed by Eric Schneiderman, state Attorney General while announcing the case settlement on August 11.
Apart from the $525,000, Barneys is also forced to hire an anti-profiling consultant for two years and update its policy and the manner their records are kept when detaining customers who are suspected of theft. Also, training of security and personnel is expected to be improved.
Eric Schneiderman revealed in his statement:
This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.
Mark Lee, Barneys’ CEO states in a released statement that the company was pleased with the settlement reached:
Barneys New York has prided itself on providing an unparalleled customer experience to every person that comes into contact with our brand — open and welcoming to one and all.
He also added that the store does not tolerate discrimination.
The investigation was sparked after two shoppers, both black, said they were held by the police after making expensive pruchases at the luxury store on Madison Avenue. Rob Brown, a Hollywood actor who appeared in Treme also made a similar complaint last year against Barneys and also Macy’s. Macy’s and Brown reached a settlement last month, but both parties declined to reveal the terms of their agreement.
Civil rights activist, Al Sharpton said in a statement on Monday that:
[The] move in the right direction towards fairness and equal respect for all consumers, but we must monitor and continue to be vigilant.
Last year in December, Barneys and several other important retailed agreed to create a new bill of rights and make it public.
Have you ever been racially profiled? Care to share your thoughts on this in the comment section below?