Macy’s Herald Square (NYLJ/Rick Kopstein)
Macy’s has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle allegations of racial profiling at its flagship store in Manhattan’s Herald Square.
Under the agreement signed Tuesday with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the retailer will adopt new policies on police access to its security camera monitors and against profiling, further train employees, investigate customer complaints, keep better records of detentions and report for three years on compliance.
Macy’s also must post a “customer’s bill of rights” in English and Spanish in all of its New York stores and on its website.
Schneiderman said the settlement would ensure customers are treated equally regardless of race or ethnicity at Macy’s 42 department stores statewide. “It is absolutely unacceptable, and it’s illegal, for anyone in New York to be treated like a criminal simply because of the color of their skin,” he said.
The attorney general’s Civil Rights Bureau said it opened an investigation into Macy’s in February 2013. It recorded complaints from 18 black, Latino and other ethnic minorities who claimed they were apprehended and detained at Macy’s stores between 2007 and 2013, despite not having stolen or attempting to steal merchandise.
The complaints included customers detained after traveling on escalators with unconcealed merchandise. Other customers speaking limited English and suspected of shoplifting or credit card fraud were barred from making calls, denied access to an interpreter and required to sign trespass notices they couldn’t understand.
The agreement cites 12-month data from Macy’s showing 1,947 people were detained at the Herald Square store and 6,000 people at stores statewide.
“To be clear, our company’s policies strictly prohibit any form of discrimination or racial profiling and any occurrence of such behavior will not be tolerated in our organization,” Macy’s said in a statement.