Upscale retailer Barneys New York has agreed to pay $525,000 in fines to settle a lawsuit alleging it began profiling black and Hispanic customers after experiencing a spike in shoplifting and credit card fraud at its flagship store in Manhattan.
According to testimony before the state Attorney General’s office, the store’s loss-prevention unit watched black and Hispanic customers more closely than others when they came into the store.
Under the settlement, Barneys will hire an outside anti-profiling consultant and adopt a new program to catch profiling incidents. In a statement, Barneys said it was “a truly progressive company that has absolutely no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
Note: Bad publicity isn’t the only harm that comes from incidents like this. If a Barneys employee ever sues for race bias suit, it will surely come up in court.