Barneys settles racial profile accusations after 9 month investigation
Paying out $525,000
The accusations were first brought to light in 2013 – Trayon Christian filed a suit against the retailer alleging discrimination, after he was detained by NYPD officers following his purchase of a $349 Ferragamo belt on April 29 last year. Kayla Phillips also filed a $5 million notice of claim against the NYPD after buying a $2,500 Céline bag two months earlier.
After a nine-month long investigation into the accusations, New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, has finally concluded that Barneys "maintained inadequate records of stops made by their loss-prevention employees, but despite these lapses, existing records showed a disproportionate number of African-American and Latino customers being detained for alleged shoplifting or credit card fraud."
The store has been ordered to pay $525,000 in fees and penalties, as well as installing measures to ensure a series of objectives are implemented at its department store to prevent such discrimination being repeated.
"Profiling and racial discrimination remain a problem in our state, but not one we are willing to accept," Schneiderman continued, "This agreement will continue our work to ensure there's one set of rules for everyone in public accommodations, including customers in New York's retail establishments. This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated."
The retail icon will also be ordered to appoint an independent anti-profiling consultant experienced in the prevention of racial profiling; implementing anti-profiling training for loss-prevention and sales employees; and fully investigating all customer complaints of racial profiling – as reported on WWD.