Walmart 'segregated,' locked up African-American hair products products, lawsuit alleges

Cornelia Mascio
Gennaio 27, 2018

To buy one of the products, she had to summon a store employee who unlocked the display case then escorted her to a cashier so she could to pay for the item before she could even touch it, Grundy said.

Attorney Gloria Allred announced Friday a lawsuit against Walmart over discrimination allegations stemming from African-American hair products. Allred alleges Walmart is in violation of California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, prohibiting businesses from discriminating against customers based on race.

A Walmart customer has filed a lawsuit against the chain, claiming that it is segregating products by race, CBS Local. He noted that some products are locked or kept under tighter security, suggesting they are more at risk of theft. "We're sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security". Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures.

When she returned to the store to purchase a 48 cent comb, she said she was "shocked" to find that, despite its low cost, the comb was also separated and could only be taken out by a Walmart employee. "We take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court".

The video was played during the press conference - showing men's and women's shampoos, body creams and combs of little retail value among other products with labels featuring black models, all arranged in a locked glass case. "That is second- class citizenship".

"We think that it perpetuates a racial stereotype that African American customers should be suspected of being thieves and criminals", Allred said.

"If it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck, OK?" she said.

Grundy said she encountered the same policy on three subsequent visits. "I know there is a lot of racism out there, but I have never been faced with it up close".

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