Barneys is hoping that $525,000, an "anti-profiling consultant" and some training will help its racial profiling problems go away. NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that the upscale retailer agreed to settle a suit and to undertake a number of measures after his office's nine-month investigation. Schneiderman said, "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."
Last fall, two black customers claimed that they were accused of credit fraud after buying items there. One, Kayla Phillips, said undercover cops had followed her after she bought a $2,500 Celine purse: "There were three men and a woman. Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile. They were very rough."
Schneiderman's office found:
- Door guards identified minority customers exclusively as warranting surveillance;
- In-store detectives followed minority customers, even when the customers had been identified by sales associates as clients and frequent patrons of the store;
- In-store detectives disproportionately asked sales associates to reprint receipts after minority customers made purchases in order to confirm the purchases were legitimate;
- In-store detectives disproportionately called sales associates who handled and completed minority customers’ transactions in order to investigate the customers’ credit card use; and
- Some sales associates avoided serving minority customers so they would not be contacted by loss-prevention employees seeking to investigate the use of credit cards by minority customers.
Additionally, the Attorney General found 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.
- Retain an independent anti-profiling consultant with expertise in the prevention of racial profiling in loss prevention and asset protection;
- Establish new recordkeeping requirements on investigations, detentions and false stops conducted by loss-prevention employees;
- Limit access to its closed-circuit TV areas by local law enforcement officers and maintain records of visits by local law enforcement officers;
- Adopt new loss-prevention detention policies and a new anti-profiling policy;
- Develop and conduct anti-profiling training for loss-prevention and sales employees;
Investigate customer complaints of profiling; and
- Pay $525,000 in costs, fees, and penalties.
Barneys CEO Mark Lee told the Daily News
, “During the entirety of our 90-year history, Barneys New York has prided itself on providing an unparalleled customer experience to every person that comes into contact with our brand. We (have) absolutely no tolerance for discrimination of any kind." Also, this helps Jay Z out.