Supervisors at CVS in New York routinely ordered workers to target Black and Hispanic shoppers for theft and other crimes, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday, reports The New York Times.
The suit, filed by four former store detectives in Federal District Court in Manhattan, also alleges that the workers were fired after they complained about racial discrimination, against both customers and themselves, writes the news outlet.
From The New York Times:
The plaintiffs, all of whom are either black or Hispanic, contend in their suit that two supervisors in CVS’s loss-prevention department, overseeing stores in Manhattan and Queens, regularly told them to racially profile nonwhite shoppers. The suit says that one of the supervisors, Anthony Salvatore, routinely told subordinates that “black people always are the ones that are the thieves,” and that “lots of Hispanic people steal.” The second supervisor, Abdul Selene, frequently advised detectives, known at CVS as market investigators, to “watch the black and Hispanic people to catch more cases,” the suit said.
The supervisors also subjected the plaintiffs to discriminatory treatment, the suit said. When one plaintiff, Kerth Pollack, got into an argument with a store manager, Mr. Salvatore phoned him and demanded that he “get his black ass back to the store and apologize,” the suit said. A different store manager once instructed another plaintiff, Delbert Sorhaindo, to “hide like a monkey” to avoid being detected by potential shoplifters, the suit said.
When the plaintiffs complained about these and other episodes to officials at CVS, the suit said, they were subjected within weeks “to increased scrutiny, micromanagement and fabricated performance criticism.”
The suit comes almost a year after Macy’s department store was under fire following allegations that minority shoppers faced heightened surveillance and, in some cases, wrongful detention at its flagship store in Midtown. The store struck a deal with Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General, to pay a $650,000 fine and hire an independent monitor to address complaints, the report notes.
Schneiderman also reached a similar deal with Barneys New York, which agreed last summer to pay $525,000 and put in place reforms intended to deter racial profiling at its Madison Avenue store, The Times writes.
SOURCE: The New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: NBC 4 New York