Barneys New York Agrees to Pay $525,000 to Settle Racial Profiling Allegations


Remember last year when Barneys New York came under fire for a few disturbing reports of Black shoppers being racially profiled?

Now, Barneys has agreed to pay $525,000 (in fines and legal fees) to settle the allegations that the company’s employees deliberately targeted minorities at its Madison Ave. flagship store.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigators heard from customers and former employees that a pattern of racial profiling began last year when the high-end store tried to crack down on a dramatic spike in shoplifting and credit card fraud.

Complainants told Schneiderman’s civil rights division that the store’s security team — known as the “loss prevention unit” — made a habit of keeping watch over black and Hispanic shoppers in disproportionate numbers.

“This agreement will correct a number of wrongs,” said Schneiderman, “both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.”

In a 27-page settlement document signed by both parties Friday, Schneiderman released a series of findings from a nine-month review based on interviews with nearly a dozen complainants in the so-called shop-and-frisk case, including shoppers and former employees.

They alleged that black and Hispanic customers were unfairly targeted when they entered the pricey store at 660 Madison Ave.

The store’s own data showed that from October 2012 through October 2013, black and Hispanic shoppers were detained “at rates far greater than their percentage of the store’s customer base.”

The settlement includes the $525,000 in fines and legal expenses in addition to hiring an ‘anti-profiling’ consultant for two years and an update to its detention policy.

Barneys CEO Mark Lee said in a statement that the company was “pleased” with the settlement.

“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,” he added. “We (have) absolutely no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

We’re almost certain that 19-year-old Trayon Christian who was followed outside of Barneys and accused of fraud & 21-year-old Kayla Phillips who was surrounded by four plainclothes cops and accused of credit card fraud after purchasing $2,500 on a Celine bag would disagree with Mark Lee’s sentiments.

They’ve both filed lawsuits against the company as well as the NYPD, which are still ongoing.

[via NY Daily News]

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