A San Jose woman said she’s considering legal action against Macy’s after she claims she was racially profiled and accused of shoplifting at the popular department store.
Conteh Moore said her shopping trip to the Westfield Oakridge mall store turned sour after a sales associate came and accused her of stealing a bottle of cologne. Moore, who’s Black, said it was the employee’s remarks that made her feel she was being profiled.
“They searched my purse and stripped my sweater off me,” she told NBC Bay Area of the May 8 incident, adding they did so without her permission.
After being found with no cologne, Moore said the worker made a comment that convinced her she was being stopped and searched because of her race. She said the woman claimed “people like [her]” had been stealing stuff from Macy’s lately and loudly accused her of theft in front of dozens of other shoppers.
“I feel so humiliated, and up until now, I am still feeling the pain,” said Moore, noting that she had to wait nearly two hours to speak with a manager about the incident.
NBC legal analyst Steven Clark explained that while some stores are allowed to search customers’ purses and bags if there’s reason to believe a person stole something, they cannot make customers remove their clothing.
In a statement, Macy’s apologized for the mistake and explained that racial profiling is explicitly prohibited by its customer Bill of Rights.
“We apologize,” the store said in a statement to NBC Bay Area. “The situation is currently under investigation and is being reviewed. Macy’s is a company that values acceptance, respect, and integrity and does not tolerate discrimination of any type.”