Beauty brand Sephora is coming under harsh criticism after a popular celebrity alleged she experienced racial profiling while shopping in one of the company’s California stores. In a published tweet, Grammy-nominated singer SZA, a black female, alleges she was the victim of racial profiling while shopping at the Sephora location in Calabasas. SZA claims security was requested to watch her shop as she was under suspicion of shoplifting.
Sephora quickly apologized publicly to SZA, promising to address the situation immediately. In response to the allegations, Sephora issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to inclusiveness of shoppers of all races. All 16,000 Sephora employees participated in a one-hour inclusivity workshop in early June following the incident. Sephora locations, distribution centers, and corporate offices around the country were closed for an hour while the workshop took place. The inclusivity training addressed issues ranging from gender identity and disabilities to race, ethnicity and age.
The Sephora incident follows on the heels of another highly publicized racial discrimination incident at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. The coffee chain also closed during business hours to conduct employee training. Many sociology experts believe short term inventions such as quick racial bias training are largely ineffective in changing the unconscious biases leading to ongoing racial profiling.
Other public companies including Prada and Gucci have previously addressed racism allegations by creating new positions for diversity and inclusion managers within their companies, holding town hall meetings to raise further awareness of the topic, and funding multicultural design scholarships for struggling designers.
When an individual is treated differently due to a protected class such as one’s race, a violation of the individual’s civil rights has occurred. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal statutes provide federal protection from race-based discrimination. Many state laws mirror these protections.
Some of the most common “protected” classes include:
An individual may not be discriminated against based on their inclusion in any class designated as “protected” by federal or state laws.
Businesses found guilty of profiling customers based on race or another protected class face significant federal and state sanctions. Following a 2014 New York State Attorney General investigation, the department store Barneys entered into a $525,000 settlement when two black customers were improperly detained by store employees after making expensive purchases.
Individuals who have been victims of racial profiling or other types of racial discrimination may be entitled to compensation. By contacting an experienced Pennsylvania civil rights attorney, victims of racial discrimination can take the first step in obtaining the justice they deserve.
If you have been the victim of racial discrimination, including racial profiling, the experienced Pennsylvania civil rights lawyers at Williams Cedar are here to help. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey to serve clients in Pennsylvania, Cherry Hill, South Jersey, and nationwide. To schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania civil rights lawyer today, call us at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777 or submit an online inquiry form.