A CVS lawsuit, in which ex-workers accuse the company of racial discrimination against customers, has been filed against a store in New York City.
The lawsuit against the Rhode Island-based company was filed in Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan, Reuters reports. Four black and Hispanic former CVS “store detectives” claim that their store managers ordered them to track the minority customers that came into the store.
The CVS lawsuit states that the company would target customers based on their “ill-founded institutional belief… [that] minority customers are criminals and thieves,” according to Fox News.
“[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 stated.
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One of the supervisors, Anthony Salvatore, reportedly routinely told his workers that “black people always are the ones who are thieves,” and “lots of Hispanic people steal.” Another supervisor Abdul Selene told workers to “watch the black and Hispanic people to catch more cases,” the New York Times reports. The former employees stated that they were subjected to racial slurs and were eventually fired after complaining about the discrimination they were facing. The lawsuit cites violations to the New York Human Rights Law and other comparable city laws. The CVS lawsuit also states that the plaintiffs plan on filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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Carolyn Castel, a spokeswoman for CVS Health Corp, said she was shocked to hear about the allegations and plan to fight them.
“We serve all communities and we do not tolerate any policy or practice that discriminates against any group,” she said.
The case is Simpson v. CVS Pharmacy Inc, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 15-cv-4261.
The CVS lawsuit comes just a few days after the company announced that they would be opening a “CVS/pharmacy y mas” store in Miami to provide an enhanced shopping experience for Hispanic customers. According to the press release, the store will “feature a fully bilingual staff, the addition of more than 1,500 trusted Hispanic products, more competitive pricing on hundreds of products, and new services unique to a national retail pharmacy.”
“With more than 7,800 stores across the U.S., we understand that our retail pharmacies should not be one size fits all for the diverse communities we serve,” said Helena Foulkes, President of CVS/pharmacy. “CVS/pharmacy y mas stores are designed to be a place where our Hispanic customers feel at home to receive our best-in-class pharmacy service, along with personalized products and services to better meet their diverse needs.”
[Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]