A black woman from Riverside County in Los Angeles, is suing Walmart for "discriminating against African-Americans" by locking up products subject to high rates of theft.
Essie Grundy told CBS LA reporters at a news conference on Friday that she would be filing a racial discrimination lawsuit against the retail giant because several hair products was locked away behind a glass casing at the Perris store.
Her lawyer said Grundy was shocked that the hair and skin items were “segregated” while beauty products for other races were easily available to customers. The other non-African American products that were more expensive were not kept behind a glass, she said.
“I originally got the product from the Walmart in Riverside…and it was such a good product, I wanted to introduce it to my older children,” said Grundy. “They didn’t have anymore at the original Walmart that I got it from, so I went to my neighborhood one, and that’s when I noticed all of the African-American products was locked up under lock and key.”
Grundy said she felt like a “criminal,” because she was being escorted to the front cash register, and not allowed to hold the product herself. Her attorney Gloria Allred said they would file for a court injunction to halt Walmart’s practice of locking up products.
Walmart said in a statement that it does “not tolerate discrimination of any kind” and added that they were “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”.
But Grundy claims all African American hair products were locked behind glass at the California store. “It was something I had to stand up for,” she said. “I would like the glass to go down, and for things to go back to the way it was, where it’s not segregated and everything is where everyone can get what they need.”
But ethnic hair products are frequently stolen, a store manager confirmed. These products are kept under lock and key due to “high theft issues”.
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