Macy's ordered to pay $650K settlement

Macy's ordered to pay $650K settlement
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)

(WMC) - The tables have turned on Macy's and this time, it's the company writing out a check. Macy's will pay $650,000 to settle allegations of racial profiling at its flagship store in Manhattan's Herald Square.

And that's not all.

The department store will also adopt new policies on police access to its security camera monitors, further train employees, investigate customer complaints, keep better records of detentions and report for three years on its compliance.

New York's attorney general says the settlement will help make sure customers are treated equally regardless of race or ethnicity at the retail giant's 42 department stores nationwide.

The attorney general's civil rights bureau opened the investigation into Macy's in February 2013 when it received several complaints from minority customers. Since then, the office recorded complaints from 18 African-American, Latino, or other ethnic minority customers who claimed they had been apprehended and detained at Macy's stores between 2007 and 2013.

The complaints included customers detained after traveling between floors by escalator with unconcealed merchandise. Other customers who spoke limited English and were suspected of shoplifting were not allowed to make phone calls or denied access to an interpreter.

Macy's released a statement saying, "To be clear, 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 agreement cites Macy's data from October 2012 through October 2013 showing employees apprehended and detained 1,947 individuals at the Herald Square Store. Meanwhile, about 6,000 people were detained at stores nationwide.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. The Associated Press contributed to this story. All rights reserved.