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Friday, June 5, 2015

CVS in NY Faces Discrimination Lawsuit

According to a class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday, supervisors at CVS in New York routinely ordered workers to target Black and Hispanic shoppers for theft and other crimes, reports The New York Times.
The lawsuit was filed by four former store detectives in Federal District Court in Manhattan.  It also alleges that the workers were fired after they complained about racial discrimination, against both customers and themselves, according to the Times. 
The plaintiffs, all of whom are either black or Hispanic, contend in their suit that two supervisors in CVS’s loss-prevention department, overseeing stores in Manhattan and Queens, regularly told them to racially profile nonwhite shoppers. The suit says that one of the supervisors, Anthony Salvatore, routinely told subordinates that “black people always are the ones that are the thieves,” and that “lots of Hispanic people steal.” The second supervisor, Abdul Selene, frequently advised detectives, known at CVS as market investigators, to “watch the black and Hispanic people to catch more cases,” the suit said.
The supervisors also subjected the plaintiffs to discriminatory treatment, the suit said. When one plaintiff, Kerth Pollack, got into an argument with a store manager, Mr. Salvatore phoned him and demanded that he “get his black ass back to the store and apologize,” the suit said. A different store manager once instructed another plaintiff, Delbert Sorhaindo, to “hide like a monkey” to avoid being detected by potential shoplifters, the suit said.
When the plaintiffs complained about these and other episodes to officials at CVS, the suit said, they were subjected within weeks “to increased scrutiny, micromanagement and fabricated performance criticism.”
CVS isn't the only retail chain in hot water behind racial profiling.  If you remember, Macy’s department store was under fire following allegations that minority shoppers faced heightened surveillance and, in some cases, wrongful detention at its flagship store in Midtown. The store struck a deal with Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General, to pay a $650,000 fine and hire an independent monitor to address complaints, the report notes.  A similar deal was also reached with Barneys New York, which last summer agreed to pay $525,000 and put in place reforms intended to deter racial profiling at its Madison Avenue store, The Times writes.

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