Luxury department store, Barneys, has been making headlines following allegations that the stores racially profile their customers. According to CNN, a 19-year-old by the name of Trayon Christian claimed he was racially profiled after purchasing an expensive belt from Barneys and has now filed a lawsuit. ABC News reports that Macy's is also at the heart of a lawsuit after actor Robert Brown alleged that the store profiled him following the purchase of a $1,350 watch.
But Barneys and Macy's are not the first stores to face allegations, here are 5 stores who have also dealt with scandals:
1. Stores with Scandals: Whole Foods
After two employees in an Albuquerque, New Mexico store were suspended for speaking Spanish, the supermarket chain found itself facing a national scandal that included threats of national boycotts from Latino groups and a ton of online petitions. Not only did many feel that Whole Foods language policy was unfair, it apparently also violated New Mexico's state constitution, which protects Spanish and American Indian languages. Nearly a week later, Whole Foods announced that it had revised its language policy.
"First, we sincerely apologize that a section of our handbook regarding Team Member interactions in the workplace was not clearly written, and for any misunderstandings or offense it has created," Whole Foods Market Co-CEO Walter Robb wrote in a blog post. "Its intention was to foster inclusion, not exclusion."
2. Stores with Scandals: Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch
In 2003, the clothing store faced a serious lawsuit after many claimed Abercrombie had discriminated against African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos. Latino and Asian employees accused the company of having them do jobs in the stock room rather than the sales floor because Abercrombie wanted to be represented by workers who looked “classically American.” The clothing company later settled the lawsuit for $50 million.
“The retail industry and other industries need to know that businesses cannot discriminate against individuals under the auspice of a marketing strategy or a particular ‘look.’ Race and sex discrimination in employment are unlawful,” Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawyer Eric Drieband stated following the end of the lawsuit.
3. Stores with Scandals: Urban Outfitters
In 2005, the retail giant made consumers very upset after releasing a shirt that read: "New Mexico, Cleaner than Regular Mexico." Many, including the Anti-Defamation League, felt the shirt was suggesting that Mexico is a dirty place. An official from the League asked Urban Outfitters to stop selling the offensive piece of clothing.
4. Stores with Scandals: Taco Cid
This Mexican restaurant in South Carolina received a lot of backlash earlier this year after it began to incorporate an offensive t-shirt with their employee uniform. Taco Cid created a shirt which said, "How to Catch an Illegal Immigrant," and included an image of a taco under a wooden box trap. While many found this highly offensive, the restaurant reportedly defended itself stating the shirts were "witty and comical." Taco Cid also wrote on their website that their employees are not racist and that their shirts contained “No racial nor hate remarks towards any specific ethnic group.”
"I strongly believe we all have the right to express ourselves. It’s our constitutional right to freedom of expression, belief and right to free speech," the restaurant owner wrote on the site.
5. Stores with Scandals: Forever 21
In 2011, a Mexican woman by the name of Maribel Baltazar who worked at Forever 21's distribution center in Los Angeles, filed a lawsuit against the clothing company alleging she and other Hispanic employees had faced racial discrimination. According to the suit, Baltazar claimed she was being paid less than her non-Hispanic co-workers who performed the same duties and that racist remarks had been made about her by those she worked with.