February 7, 2018
On January 26, 2018, an African-American woman filed a lawsuit against a Walmart in Southern California after she was walked to the cash register to pay for black beauty products. She was at the store in Perris, California and observed that the cosmetics for black women were locked up while other cosmetics for other races were not similarly locked.
She wanted to buy a bottle of lotion and had to ask an employee to unlock the anti-theft cabinet and walk to the register with her before she could even hold the product. She felt like store personnel treated her like a thief even though she did not have any criminal history. She told journalists that she does not want anyone else to suffer the same experience.
Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, the well-known women’s rights attorney, reported that she is asking for an apology. She also wants the ethnic products removed from storage.
However, the retail conglomerate defended the measures, claiming that they are working to prevent shoplifting. A company statement indicated that some products, including automotive and electronics, are under additional security, and that the locking up of products is not limited to personal-care products. Every store makes its own decisions about what to lock up based on applicable data.
While some shoppers defended Walmart’s actions, other customers claimed that the anti-theft cases are common measures at Walmart and similar retail stores. In December 2016, three Virginia Walmarts were accused of similar discriminatory practices due to their tightened security on black hair products. Two of the stores have since quit the controversial practice.
Barneys and Macy’s also settled out-of-court lawsuits after their security personnel reportedly detained a disproportionate number of minorities. Additionally, shoppers at CVS have accused the pharmacy of locking up black cosmetics. New York City detectives also sued CVS stores in a racial discrimination lawsuit after their superiors reportedly told them to keep a closer eye on Hispanic and black customers, targeting them for possible shoplifting crimes.
If you believe that you have been the target of racial discrimination, you need a seasoned legal team to represent you. Contact us today for assistance.