NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former CVS employees are suing the company, claiming their bosses ordered them to racially profile potential thieves.

The proposed class action lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by four black and Hispanic former CVS store detectives.

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The former detectives were assigned to stores in Manhattan and Queens, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports.

“And across the board, our clients were directed to racially profile customers; to target black and Hispanic shoppers,” said their lawyer, David Gottlieb.

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He said they were the targets of racism themselves. One plaintiff said a supervisor told him to “hide like a monkey” so shoplifters wouldn’t pick up on his presence, Silverman reported.

“This is no way to treat employees,” Gottlieb added. “This was a horrible experience for them.”

They also claim the company retaliated when they complained.

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A CVS spokesperson declined WCBS 880’s request for an interview, but gave a statement which said the company is shocked by the allegations, and continued with, “we serve all communities and we do not tolerate any policy or practice that discriminates.”