SettlementBarneys New York, the clothing retailer, has settled a racial discrimination lawsuit that alleged the company zeroed in on its minority customers and subjected them to heightened security surveillance. Barneys has agreed to settle the lawsuit for approximately half a million dollars. In addition to paying $525,000 in the settlement, the company will also be instituting a variety of reforms regarding its security procedures.

The lawsuit resulted in a nine-month long investigation into the store's practices, which allegedly involved the profiling of Latin American and African-American customers. The store was accused of detaining and accusing these shoppers of credit card fraud and shoplifting at a disproportionate rate.

The scandal came to light after two African American customers, who were allegedly victimized by this profiling, lodged complaints against the company's Madison Avenue location. Investigators later discovered that Barneys' security staff had been trained to stop customers who appeared to be "suspicious" after the store's security procedures were updated. Following this security update, complaints from black shoppers about being profiled started flowing in.

Black Shopper Was Chased Down After Buying a $350 Belt

A shopper said that he was chased down after buying an expensive belt with his debit card. Police handcuffed him and scrutinized his ability to afford the $350 belt. The police officer also accused him of having a counterfeit credit card. He was even taken to the police station and held there for approximately two hours before police let him go.

New York's Attorney General made several comments regarding the lawsuit at the conclusion of the settlement. According to him, racial profiling is an ongoing issue in the state, but that does not mean government authorities will put up with it. The newly inked settlement with Barneys is a continuation of the state's enforcement work to eradicate unfair treatment of certain segments of the population, the Attorney General said.

Racial Profiling Is Unlawful

Racial profiling is unlawful and a violation of an individual's inherent civil rights. Those who have been victimized by this kind of abuse may have a valid claim under the law. By consulting with a civil rights attorney who specializes in these areas, victims can investigate whether they have a claim for damages as a result of the abuse.