A Perris woman has filed a lawsuit against Walmart alleging racial discrimination against the store.
The suit was prompted by her local Walmart locking beauty products targeted towards African Americans in a glass case. As reported by the New York Times, Essie Grundy, the woman who brought the suit, said she went on three separate trips to the store this month to buy supplies and had to have an employee unlock the case before walking Grundy to the register to pay for the product.
Grundy said she spoke to a supervisor for two hours about the rule, which varies from store to store. According to Grundy, the supervisor said locking up the items was a corporate policy, and a Walmart spokesperson told the Times that certain items that are more likely to be stolen are locked up for security reasons.
Lawyer Gloria Allred is representing Grundy in the case. Grundy is asking for a policy change, paid lawyer fees and up to $4,000 in damages.
AirTalk reached out to the plaintiff’s attorney, Gloria Allred, for comment but as of the airing of this segment we have not received a response. We also contacted Walmart’s corporate offices and they declined our interview but sent us this statement:
We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart. We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store.
We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures. While we’ve yet to review a complaint, we take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court.
What do you think of Walmart’s policy? Is it discriminatory or a warranted security move?
Jody Armour, professor of law at USC
Todd Wulffson, managing partner at Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger in Irvine, an employment and labor law firm with offices throughout California