Posh New York City retailer Barneys agreed to dole out a reported $525,000 to resolve allegations filed last year with the State Attorney General’s office claiming that minorities were deliberately singled out as suspected shoplifters, according to the New York Daily News.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in an announcement on Monday that Barneys’ shoppers and former employees complained about how store detectives would trail minority shoppers around the store.Minority credit card holders would also disproportionately have their cards vetted to such an extreme that some store employees would actually avoid catering to the minority customers for fear of being taken to task by store investigators according to the announcement.
In addition to doling out the six-figure fine, Barneys was court mandated to hire an anti-profiling advisor that they must keep on-hand for the next two years. The consultant will revamp the store’s policies and examine the way the store has detained customers suspected of theft.
Barney’s security and sales personnel will also receive a refresher course on how to properly deal with all customers regardless of race.
“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,” Schneiderman said in a release according to the New York Daily News.
The 27-page court document was full of nearly one dozen accusations of racist stop-and-frisk store policies that the luxury Madison Avenue store allegedly utilized to target Black and Hispanic customers and former employees. From October 2012 through October 2013, Black and Hispanic shoppers were detained “at rates far greater than their percentage of the store’s customer base,” states the court document that includes nine months of extensive interviews with victims.
Reportedly, the racial profiling problems intensified when, in March 2013, a new security head was put in place. After the new security regime began its reign, store detectives were mandated to “be more proactive in making stops and getting more ‘cases,’ ” the settlement states.
One month after the new security policies went into effect, 19-year-old student, Trayton Christian (pictured), purchased a Ferragamo belt for $349 and was subsequently followed outside of the store by a plainclothes policeman.
In February of last year, Kayla Phillips (pictured), a 21-year-old nursing student was cornered by four New York City police who accused her of credit card fraud after she purchased a $2,500 Celine bag.
Even though no charges were filed against the two young victims, both Christian and Phillips filed lawsuits against the store and the NYPD; both cases are still pending.
Barneys’ CEO Mark Lee stated in a release that there was no room for racial intolerance at his store:
“During the entirety of our 90-year history, Barneys New York has prided itself on providing an unparalleled customer experience to every person that comes into contact with our brand,” he added. “We (have) absolutely no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”