CVS Pharmacy has been hit with a pair of lawsuits filed by some of the chain’s former “market investigators” who say they were told to target black and brown customers for shoplifting. This comes one year after four other loss prevention workers of color filed a similar suit claiming they endured racial slurs and poor performance reviews by CVS management for speaking up.
The Daily News reports that former CVS employee Sheldon Thomas claims he was told, “When you catch the black people, lock them up,” and, “When you catch the Spanish people, lock them up,” according to a new suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court. He also claims that racial slurs like “nigger” were used at CVS where he worked as a market investigator (basically a security guard tasked with theft prevention) from January 2012 to July 2013.
In a Bronx Supreme Court on Monday, two more former CVS investigators told a similar story which echoes the stories of four additional former employees who filed a discrimination suit against CVS in 2015. According to The New York Times, Lacole Simpson, Kerth Pollack, Sheree Steele, and Delbert Sorhaindo filed a class action suit against the chain last June, alleging they were dismissed after complaining about being told to target customers who looked like them. Sorhaindo says he was once told to “hide like a monkey” to catch shoplifters. Once the four complained about their treatment to upper management, they say they were targeted by supervisors, labeled bad apples, and fired.
CVS joins Macy’s and Barney’s in developing a reputation for targeting black and brown customers. Last year, CVS spokeswoman Carolyn Castel said her outfit “has firm nondiscrimination policies that it rigorously enforces,” and was “shocked by the allegations.” A CVS spokesperson now tells The Daily News the company still doesn’t “tolerate any practices that discriminate against any of our customers or employees, and our market investigator training explicitly prohibits the profiling of customers.”
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