Racial Profiling Costs Macy’s $650,000

Source: Julissa Catalan /DiversityInc

Following an 18-month investigation, Macy’s has agreed to pay a $650,000 settlement to address racial-profiling claims at its flagship store on 34th Street in New York City.

The Herald Square store had been accused of disproportionately accusing Blacks and Latinos of shoplifting, and in some cases subjecting them to heightened surveillance procedures and even detention.

The agreement—which was signed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and is applicable to all 42 Macy’s stores in the state—says that “loss prevention” procedures exercised by Macy’s staff and security were investigated.

It was concluded that Macy’s “detained African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities for allegedly shoplifting at significantly higher rates relative to whites.”

“This agreement will help ensure that no one is unfairly singled out as a suspected criminal when they shop in New York,” Schneiderman said.

“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,” he added.

Between 2007 and 2013, the attorney general’s Civil Rights Bureau recorded complaints from 18 Black and Latino shoppers who claimed they had been falsely accused of and detained for suspected shoplifting or credit-card fraud.

The agreement cites data collected from October 2012 through October 2013 showing that Macy’s employees apprehended and detained 1,947 customers at the Herald Square store. Meanwhile, about 6,000 people were detained at stores throughout New York.

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