Barney’s agrees to pay $525K for profiling black customers


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Barney’s New York has agreed to pay $525,000 in fees and penalties for racially profiling two Barney’s customers.

The settlement was reached after a nine-month investigation by the New York state attorney general’s office.

The investigation was launched after college student Trayon Christian and nursing student Kayla Phillips were stopped by Barney’s employees in separate incidents after the students purchased expensive items from the New York flagship store.

Trayon said he was accused of theft by a N.Y.P.D. cop after he purchased a $359 Ferragamo belt with a debit card. And Kayla said she was harassed when she bought a $2,500 Céline bag from the same store.

Both have filed lawsuits against the store and the N.Y.P.D. for violating their civil rights.

From Huffington Post:

Investigators reviewed a series of complaints from Barneys customers and former employees, who claimed that door guards would exclusively single out minority customers and that in-store detectives would follow these customers as they walked around. Some salespeople tried not to work with minority shoppers to avoid the hassle of being roped into investigations about them, the complaints alleged.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office found that a “disproportionate number” of black and Latino customers had been detained at Barneys on suspicion of shoplifting or credit card fraud. It concluded that Barneys lacked the proper “comprehensive written policies” to curb racial profiling.

“Profiling and racial discrimination remain a problem in our state, but not one we are willing to accept,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employee to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.”

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