Macy’s Accused of Racial Profiling

May 22, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A civil rights lawsuit filed against the department store, Macy’s, claims minority shoppers are being detained more often than Caucasians on suspicion of shoplifting.

According to the New York Times, lawyers for Sharon Simmons-Thomas of the Bronx claim Macy’s employees “handcuffed and detained her in a holding cell, and pressured her to make a false confession, even though she had presented receipts for the items she had bought.”

Federated Department Stores, parent company of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, denies the allegations. In a released statement it said the company does “not profile, target or discriminate against any minority group or individual.”

Moderator’s Comment: Do retailers engage in racial
profiling to attempt and reduce shrink? Is the use of racial profiling in store
security an acceptable practice?

We highly doubt a judge will find this suit deserves class
action status as claimed by the lawyers for Ms. Simmons-Thomas. That said, if
she produced a receipt for goods and was still detained, then somebody (or bodies)
need to be fired and Macy’s better get out its checkbook. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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