Barneys to pay $525K in NY shopper-profiling probe

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Barneys to pay $525K in NY shopper-profiling probe
Art Palmer, of Brooklyn, center, holds up his Macy's and American Express cards at a press conference with New York State Senator Eric Adams, right, and Civil Rights attorney Norman Siegel outside Macy's Herald Square. Palmer syas four plainclothes cops questioned him three blocks away from th4e flagship store after he bought $320 worth of Polo dress shirts and ties. The latest accusation echoes those by Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips against Barneys and by actor Robert Brown against the same Macy's.(Photo By: James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, file photo, pedestrians pass Barneys New York department store in New York. Rap artist Jay-Z has said he’s been unfairly “demonized” because he hasn’t backed out of his collaboration with Barneys New York, accused of racially profiling two black customers. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
The Rev. Al Sharpton, standing with Mark Lee, left, CEO of Barneys New York, addresses member of the media Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the National Action Headquarters in New York, after they and other community leaders discussed allegations of racial profiling. Two black customers recently claimed they were detained by police on suspicion of credit card fraud after lawfully purchasing expensive items. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, meets with Mark Lee, center, CEO of Barneys New York, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the National Action Headquarters in New York, to discuss allegations of racial profiling after customers who were arrested outside the store after making legal purchases. Two black customers recently claimed they were detained by police on suspicion of credit card fraud after lawfully purchasing expensive items. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Pedestrians pass Barneys New York department store Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, in New York. The scenario usually involves suspicious glances, inattentive clerks or rude service _ not handcuffs. Yet when a black teen came forward with a story of being briefly jailed after buying a $350 belt at the Manhattan luxury store, it stirred up an age-old problem that many African-Americans still deal with today. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
The Rev. Al Sharpton, top center left, listens to Mark Lee, top center right, CEO of Barneys New York, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the National Action Headquarters in New York, to discuss allegations of racial profiling after customers who were arrested outside the store after making legal purchases. Two black customers recently claimed they were detained by police on suspicion of credit card fraud after lawfully purchasing expensive items. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, meets with Mark Lee, center, CEO of Barneys New York, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the National Action Headquarters in New York with store officials, community leaders and local politicians to discuss allegations of racial profiling after two black customers were detained by police outside the store after making expensive purchases. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
The Rev. Al Sharpton, standing with Mark Lee, top center left, CEO of Barneys New York, addresses member of the media Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the National Action Headquarters in New York, after they and other community leaders discussed allegations of racial profiling after customers were arrested outside the store after making legal purchases. Two black customers recently claimed they were detained by police on suspicion of credit card fraud after lawfully purchasing expensive items. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Mark Lee, left, CEO of Barneys New York, standing with The Rev. Al Sharpton, listen to a question from a member of the media Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the National Action Headquarters in New York, after they and other community leaders discussed allegations of racial profiling. Two black customers recently claimed they were detained by police on suspicion of credit card fraud after lawfully purchasing expensive items. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Mark Lee, CEO of Barneys New York, addresses members of the media with The Rev. Al Sharpton, right, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the National Action Headquarters in New York, after discussing allegations of racial profiling. Two black customers recently claimed they were detained by police on suspicion of credit card fraud after lawfully purchasing expensive items. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
The Rev. Al Sharpton, standing with Mark Lee, left, CEO of Barneys New York, addresses member of the media Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the National Action Headquarters in New York, after they and other community leaders discussed allegations of racial profiling. Two black customers recently claimed they were detained by police on suspicion of credit card fraud after lawfully purchasing expensive items. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
A shopper stands in front of Barney's, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 in New York. Behind her construction workers fabricate a gilded enclosure that will contain a holiday display. Jay Z announced Friday he'll move forward with a planned collaboration with Barneys New York despite recent allegations of racial profiling at the luxury store, an ongoing investigation into the claims and public pressure that he back out of the deal. His BNY SCC line is scheduled to debut Wednesday at the store. The store released a statement saying it has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Live models in a Christmas window called "Sleigh Ride" at Barneys New York, wave to a pedestrian on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 in New York. The window is one of four holiday windows promoting a charitable collaboration between Barneys and Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter. New York City is giving 17 major retail stores, including Barneys, until Friday to submit information on how they've dealt with shoppers suspected of stealing, as it probes allegations of racial profiling, .(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 30: A general view of the exterior facade of Barneys New York flagship clothing store on December 30, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
Art Palmer, of Brooklyn, at a press conference outside Macy's Herald Square holding clothes he purchased at Macy's Herald Square in April 2013. Palmer says four plainclothes cops questioned him three blocks away from the flagship store after he bought $320 worth of Polo dress shirts and ties. The latest accusation echoes those by Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips against Barneys and by actor Robert Brown against the same Macy's.(Photo By: James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 30: A general view of the exterior facade of Barneys New York flagship clothing store on December 30, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
A man carries a shopping bag as he rides a skateboard as he crosses an intersection toward a Barney's store in San Francisco, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Rashawn Moose Cheatham (L) protests outside Barneys flagship store, accusing the store of racial profiling, on October 30, 2013 in New York City. On April 29, 2013 Trayon Christian, 19, was detained and then arrested by undercover police after buying a $349 belt at Barneys. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Pedestrians pass Barneys New York department store Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, in New York. The scenario usually involves suspicious glances, inattentive clerks or rude service _ not handcuffs. Yet when a black teen came forward with a story of being briefly jailed after buying a $350 belt at the Manhattan luxury store, it stirred up an age-old problem that many African-Americans still deal with today. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 25: Grab bags at auction at The Kingfish Cafe on July 25, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Suzi Pratt/Getty Images for Barneys New York)
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By JENNIFER PELTZ

NEW YORK (AP) - Barneys has agreed to pay $525,000 to resolve allegations that minorities were singled out as suspected shoplifters at its flagship store, part of a spate of racial profiling complaints against major retailers last year.

Barneys shoppers and ex-employees complained that detectives followed minority customers around - even after staffers identified them as frequent patrons - and disproportionately investigated their credit-card use, so much so that some salespeople even avoided serving minority shoppers so as to avoid getting calls from store investigators, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in announcing the settlement Monday.

Besides the $525,000 in fines and expenses, Barneys will hire an "anti-profiling consultant" for two years, update its policy and record-keeping on detaining customers suspected of theft, and improve training of security and sales personnel.

"This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated," Schneiderman said in a release.

Barneys CEO Mark Lee said in a statement that the company was pleased with the settlement, according to the Daily News, which first reported it. A call to Barneys spokespeople Monday wasn't immediately returned.

"Barneys New York has prided itself on providing an unparalleled customer experience to every person that comes into contact with our brand," Lee's statement said, adding that the store doesn't tolerate discrimination.

Schneiderman's investigation came after two Barney's shoppers, both of whom are black, said last fall they were detained by police after making expensive purchases at the Madison Avenue luxury emporium.

Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton met with Lee to discuss the issue, and the furor spurred an online petition asking rapper Jay-Z, who was collaborating with the luxury retailer for a holiday collection, to disassociate from it. He ultimately decided to move forward with the project, which raised money for his charitable foundation, under the condition that he helped lead the store's review of its policies.

Meanwhile, minority shoppers - including actor Rob Brown - also made similar complaints last year against other New York stores including Macy's, which had paid a $600,000 fine and promised changes in 2005 after the then-attorney general made similar claims. Macy's and the "Treme" actor reached a settlement in principle last month in his federal civil rights suit over the matter, both sides said, declining to detail the terms.

In December, Barney's, Macy's and several other major retailers agreed to create and publicize a customer bill of rights.

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