NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton announced a coalition of major retailers has agreed to create a customer “bill of rights” that will be posted in stores to help prevent racial profiling.
Sharpton said civil rights leaders met Monday with representatives from retail chains including Barneys, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and The Gap.
He said the bill of rights will be posted in stores and on retailers’ websites this week.
The one-page document drafted by the Retail Council of New York State declares profiling is an “unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated.”
“It establishes the level of expectations that customers can have when they come into the store in the way that they can expect to be treated,” council executive vice president Ted Potrikus said. “The intention of it is to make sure that people know ‘this is how we’ve trained our staff.'”
The agreement prohibits profiling and unreasonable searches. It states that workers who violate their employers’ prohibition on profiling will be disciplined and could be fired.
The two groups first met last month after several black shoppers alleged they were racially profiled at Macy’s and Barneys New York.
Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old City College of Technology student, filed a lawsuit against the NYPD and Barneys, claiming he was racially targeted after buying a $349 Ferragamo belt in April at the Madison Avenue store.
Another customer, Kayla Phillips, 21, filed a complaint with the city’s police watchdog agency, claiming she had a similar experience after buying a $2,500 Celine handbag in February.
Crown Heights resident Art Palmer said he used two credit cards to spend several hundred dollars on shirts and ties at Macy’s Herald Square back in April. He said he was then stopped by four undercover police officers outside.
Actor Robert Brown said he was stopped inside Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square last June after he bought a $1,350 Movado wristwatch.
Lawyers representing Brown said they are not impressed by the “bill of rights,” calling it “nothing more than an obvious self-serving marketing ploy.”
The stores deny they had policies that targeted black customers.
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