CVS Required Workers to Racially Profile Shoppers, Lawsuit Claims

Retail Reuters

Managers at CVS Pharmacy Inc stores in New York City required loss prevention staff to racially profile shoppers and subjected minority employees to racist slurs, a lawsuit against the Rhode Island-based company claimed.

Continue Reading Below

The proposed class action lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan by four black and Hispanic former CVS "store detectives" who claimed their bosses and some store managers ordered them to track minority customers.

"(Supervisors) would give these directions even when there was no indication the black shopper was going to steal anything, and would never give such directions with regard to white shoppers," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit, which also named several managers as defendants, claimed black and Hispanic employees were subjected to racial slurs and that the four plaintiffs were fired for complaining about discrimination. It claimed violations of the New York Human Rights Law and a comparable city law prohibiting racial discrimination by employers.

Carolyn Castel, a spokeswoman for CVS Health Corp said the company was "shocked" by the lawsuit and would fight the claims.

"We serve all communities and we do not tolerate any policy or practice that discriminates against any group," she said.

Continue Reading Below

The lawsuit comes about a year after Macy's Inc and Barneys [DBWLDB.UL] agreed to pay $650,000 and $525,000, respectively, to settle complaints that they harassed black customers.

The lawsuit said the plaintiffs would soon file complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which would allow them to add claims in the case.

The case is Simpson v. CVS Pharmacy Inc, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 15-cv-4261.

(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, N.Y.; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi)