A New York judge mandated in a lawsuit against Macy’s that the retailer refrain from detaining and fining suspected shoplifters, the New York Daily News reports.
Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez says Macy’s abused a state law statue that allows retailers to temporarily detain and fine said persons. The law was created to prevent teens who were detained for allegedly shoplifting from racking up criminal records, according to the New York Post.
Macy’s reportedly detained over 6,000 people in New York over the course of one year – extracting confessions and fines. Mendez’s ruling said the chain had no authority to do so.
Judge Mendez’s ruling came in a class-action lawsuit filed by Cinthia Orellana, who said Macy’s staffers locked her in a holding cell in 2015 and accused her of stealing discount shirts.
Faruk Usar, the lawyer representing the suit, said the chain held mostly young minority customers and forced them to sign confessions leading to arrests.
Macy’s has previously faced customer racial profiling claims.
In 2014, the chain agreed to pay out $650,000 in a class-action suit filed by 18 minority customers who visited the famous Herald Square location between 2007 and 2013, the International Business Times reports. Customers from Black, Latino, and other minority communities filed complaints against Macy’s, saying the company detained them for no reason.
The suit alleged the retailer had a quota system, which allowed for five arrests a week, and also categorized Black and White customers using a race code system.
Macy’s released a statement after the settlement:
“To be clear, our company’s policies strictly prohibit any form of discrimination or racial profiling and any occurrence of such behavior will not be tolerated in our organization. Moving forward, our company will be initiating a series of measures including enhanced training and education for our loss prevention and sales associates.”