Macy's to pay $650,000 to resolve "shop-and-frisk" probe

NEW YORK Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:08am EDT

NEW YORK Aug 20 (Reuters) - Macy's Inc has agreed to pay $650,000 to New York's attorney general and install a monitor to resolve allegations that its security personnel targeted minority shoppers.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office investigated several complaints from customers of the company's flagship store in midtown Manhattan, also said Macy's would adopt new anti-profiling policies, improve training and designate a compliance expert to report to the attorney general's office for the next three years.

The deal comes a week after Schneiderman's office reached a $525,000 agreement with Barneys New York to resolve similar "shop-and-frisk" allegations from minority customers.

"It is absolutely unacceptable - and it's illegal - for anyone in New York to be treated like a criminal simply because of the color of their skin," Schneiderman said in a statement.

In a statement, Macy's said it has also reached settlements in principle with various shoppers who filed state and federal lawsuits alleging discrimination.

Those complaints included a lawsuit filed by actor Rob Brown of HBO's "Treme" claiming he was detained and handcuffed at the store after purchasing a $1,300 gold watch.

"Our company's policies strictly prohibit any form of discrimination or racial profiling and any occurrence of such behavior will not be tolerated in our organization," the company said.

The attorney general's office opened its investigation 18 months ago. Among other findings, the office said a review of data provided by Macy's showed the store detained minorities at significantly higher rates than white shoppers.

Macy's had previously operated under a consent decree reached in 2005 with the attorney general's office to resolve allegations that its security practices, including its handcuffing policies, violated anti-discrimination laws. That agreement ended in 2008. (Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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