A Canadian woman is speaking out after she says she was racially profiled and assaulted by an Old Navy staff member who accused her of shoplifting from the store.
Lisa Calderon, who lives in Mississauga, Ontario, voiced her outrage in a Facebook post explaining how “uncomfortable” she was while perusing the popular clothing store in her hometown.
Calderon, who arrived wearing a shirt with the tag still attached, said she was there to make an exchange and was considering buying a white dress she tried on, that is until she claims she was racially profiled. After taking her concerns to management, the woman said she decided to take her business elsewhere.
That’s when she says she was followed and confronted by an Old Navy employee.
“When I was at Brown’s [shoe store] looking for shoes, a staff by the name of Stephanie said she seen that I did not walk into the store with my top on, and they saw it on camera, and that I still had the price tag on it,” Calderon wrote. “She then proceeded to put her hands on me in front of security guard Quesada 10830909.”
Video from the incident shows the worker grabbing Calderon by the arm and refusing to let go, despite her repeated objections.
“If she doesn’t let go off of me I’m going to press charges!” she shouts. “Stephanie, I’m going to press charges against you. Let go of my hand.”
A pair of security guards stand idly by as the two women go back and forth.
Stephanie, still holding Calderon by the arm, accuses the woman of leaving with an item — a $13 shirt — she did not arrive with and demands to see her receipt, proving she made a purchase. When Calderon refuses, the employee presumes she’s guilty.
“Ma’am, why are you shaking? Are you nervous?” she asks sarcastically.
The worker goes on to allege that store surveillance captured Calderon walking in wearing a different shirt than the one she walked out with.
The video sparked a torrent of angry reactions from social media users, many who chided the employee for putting her hands on the woman.
“Until Stephanie can prove you had been steeling, she needs to keep them dirty d–k beaters of hers to herself! That’s assault,” one Facebook user wrote.
“9 years in retail and Loss Prevention and I can say for sure, you are not legally allowed to hold someone or put your hands on another person,” wrote another. “Not okay #oldnavy.”
One user praised Calderon for her restraint but said, “I would have bust Stephanie ass in her Motherf—–g face….the end.”
On Facebook, Calderon said security eventually ordered the worker to unhand her. A manager at the store offered her an apology and made it clear that employees “should never, ever touch anyone.”
Calderon said the incident brought her to tears.
“Guys I cried cause I never thought in a million years this would happen to me,” she wrote. “I would’ve been more calm and understanding if she didn’t accuse me first. I would’ve been happy to show my receipt, especially because I voiced my racial profile complaint to the employee before I left the store. This needs to stop, Stephanie had no Right to aggressively lay her hands on me and accuse me of stealing a $13 dollar top.”
Calderon said the store manager took down her info and told her a district manager would get back to her promptly.
In a separate post, Calderon explained her reasoning for going in with a shirt with a tag still on it.
“I have a right to keep my tags on my clothes, and did so in case any of my items were drastically discounted within 30 days, which Old Navy’s policy is to give their customer back the difference,” she explained. “Normally you can just bring your bill and get a simple fast transaction back into your account, but on rear occasions, you run into ignorant employees like Stephanie, who want you to go around the store to collect the items.”
A spokesman for Old Navy provided Atlanta Black Star with the following statement:
“Old Navy was founded in 1994 to be a place where everyone belongs. It’s been a part of our culture and values since day one, and always will be. That makes it even more upsetting when incidents occur that don’t reflect those values. We are so sorry that Lisa Calderon had an unacceptable experience in one of our stores, and we apologize for letting her down. Following a thorough investigation, we’ve taken action in accordance with our values and policies. The employee involved in this situation is no longer with Old Navy. We have ongoing training opportunities for our employees globally to ensure everyone who shops and works in our stores feels welcome and respected, and will continue to do so.”
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