Macy’s Inc. has agreed to pay $650,000 to New York state to settle accusations of racial profiling which allegedly occurred at its flagship Herald Square store in Manhattan, the retailer announced Aug. 20.
In addition to paying the monetary fine, the store will hire an independent full-time security monitor in the next three months who will ensure that procedures and policies are fairly implemented for all customers.
New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began an 18-month investigation after receiving nearly two dozen complaints from African-America, Latino, and other ethnic minority groups who believed they were racially being profiled by the store.
According to a statement released by the attorney general’s office, these customers claimed that “they had been apprehended and detained at Macy’s, despite not having stolen or having attempted to steal any Macy’s Merchandise.”
According to The New York Times, a review found that some customers who spoke limited English were denied an interpreter while being questioned about shoplifting accusations.
Under the settlement agreement, Macy’s will create an enhanced training and education policy for its loss prevention and sales associate. It will also distribute an antiracial-profiling memorandum to workers in addition to deleting one of its policies, which allowed its security team to stop shoppers who walk with an item more than two floors from where they picked it up without buying it.
“It is absolutely unacceptable — and it’s illegal — for anyone in New York to be treated like a criminal simply because of the color of their skin,” Schneiderman told the Associated Press.
This settlement comes just a year after “Treme” actor Rob Brown accused the same store of racially profiling him when it accused him of using a fake card to buy his mother a $1,350 watch. He said he was handcuffed and “paraded” through the Macy’s store and jailed. Brown and Macy’s reached a separate settlement in July for unspecified monetary damages.