A Californian woman, 43 has sued a Walmart near her home over racially discriminating its customer, on Friday, January 26. Essie Grundy accused the supermarket Walmart of keeping all the beauty products marketed for black inside the locked glass case.
Grundy went to the Walmart on 12th of January which apparently was her birthday. When she asked the shop employee why the products were under lock and key, they told her it 'was a directive from corporate headquarters,' women's right attorney Gloria Allred told on behalf of Grundy.
Allred told when Grundy wanted to choose a lotion which she wanted to buy, the employees didn't allow her to touch it and took her to the register. Allred said,
The employees told Grundy that 'she would need to be escorted to the cash register with the product so she could purchase it.'
As a result of this discriminatory business practice and policy, we filed a lawsuit this morning against the Walmart. It perpetuates a racial stereotype that African Americans are thieves.
In the papers, Grundy said that she felt like a criminal when people stared at her when the employee escorted her to the register. She added that she raised a question to the store manager why there was so discrimination between the black and the other ethnic group, but the manager didn't response her well.
Grundy also opened up that she visited two more supermarkets in the area where she found the cosmetics marketed for African-Americans were freely arranged but were being under surveillance, unlike other products.
Grundy, a mother of two, who owns an online clothing business, re-visited the shop afterward taking a hidden camera with her. Grundy played the video during the video conference which showed men's and women's shampoo and other beauty products featuring black models, all arranged in a locked glass case.
Later, the Walmart told AFP in a statement which reads:
We don't tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart. We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics.
Some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics, and other personal care products are subject to additional security.
The incident is not the first in the United States, however, it can be rarely heard about the racial discrimination in the beauty shops in California. Such kind of incident is mostly evident in Virginia, where the practice was highly criticized by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.