The CVS pharmacy chain is currently facing a lawsuit from four past employees in Manhattan, New York. In the suit filed on Wednesday (Jun. 3), the group alleges that managers in the chain ordered security teams to racially profile customers of color.
The International Business Times reported on the lawsuit, which was filed in the city’s Federal District Court. The market investigators, or “store detectives,” were told by management to racially profile and track Black and Hispanic shoppers inside the stores closer than they would others. The detectives, who were comprised of Black and Hispanic workers, were fired after they spoke up to management and decried the racial discrimination practice.
More from IBT:
Anthony Salvatore, one of the supervisors, often told employees that “black people always are the ones that are the thieves,” and that “lots of Hispanic people steal,” the New York Times reported, citing the suit. Another supervisor Abdul Selene had reportedly advised the four to “watch the black and Hispanic people to catch more cases.”
The lawsuit also said, according to Reuters, that the store’s 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.”
According to the suit, when Kerth Pollack, one of the plaintiffs, entered into an argument with a store supervisor, Salvatore called him and ordered him to “get his black ass back to the store and apologize,” the Times reported.
The other three plaintiffs, Sheree Steele, Delbert Sorhaindo and Lacole Simpson, were all let go from CVS at varying times. A lawyer in the case noted that while there have been other high-profile racial profile cases brought to courts by customers before, this is the first time a group of former employees have joined forces to collectively address the matter.
CVS, which is based in Maryland, promised to fight the claims within the lawsuit.
[h/t ANIMAL New York]