Barneys has agreed to pay $525,000 to settle allegations that minorities entering its Madison Ave. flagship store were unfairly profiled. In regards to an investigation, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman listened to first hand accounts from customers and former employees that showed a pattern of racial profiling after the retailer started to crack down on credit card fraud.
The complaints stated that the loss prevention unit routinely made a habit out of watching black and hispanic shopper 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.”
Last year, two shoppers filed separate lawsuits against Barney’s, accusing the company of racially profiling them. Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old student, said he was followed by NYPD plainclothes cops outside the store and accused of fraud after he bought a $349 Ferragamo belt. Kayla Phillips, a 21-year-old nursing student, was surrounded in February 2013 by four plainclothes cops who accused her of credit card fraud after she bought a $2,500 orange suede Celine bag. Both of those lawsuits are still pending.
As part of Barney’s settlement agreement Barneys has agreed to pay the $525,000 in fines and legal expenses, to hire an “anti-profiling consultant” for two years, to update its detention policy and to improve training of security and sales personnel.