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Woman Sues Walmart For Racial Discrimination Over Black Beauty Products In Locked Case

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Perris, CA – A California woman shopping at Walmart said she was shocked to find beauty products used by African-Americans shelved behind locked glass.

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General market products (left) and products used by African Americans in locked case (right). Submitted Photo

Essie Grundy, 43, said it is the first time she’s directly experienced racism, and she decided to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against the retail giant.

“I just feel that we need to be treated equal,” Grundy said during a news conference Friday (Jan. 26), alongside her attorney Gloria Allred. “It’s no way that we should be treated … just because of a complexion. We are all human and we deserve to be treated as everyone else.”

The product in question was a 49-cent comb she originally purchased with no problem at the Riverside Walmart, according to the lawsuit

. Grundy wasn’t even allowed to actually touch the comb before purchasing it, a store employee had to accompany her to the register with the comb in hand.

“It was such a good product, I wanted to introduce it to my older children,” Grundy said, according to KCBS. “They didn’t have any more 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 were locked up under lock and key.”

She said she was shocked that the products would be locked away, and she asked a store manager to change the policy, but the manager refused.

Similar complaints have been made by groups such as Making Change at Walmart, which has described the lock-and-key policy as a “discriminatory practice.”

Grundy is being represented by women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, who said they’re seeking a court injunction to halt Walmart’s practice of locking up these products.

“That is discrimination in our view,” said Allred. “That is second- class citizenship. That is being treated with the utmost disrespect. That’s racial profiling of a customer who has no criminal history and it’s all based on a stereotype.”

Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said in a statement that the company does not discriminate, but that it will review Grundy’s complaint. He said some products, such as baby formula and razors, are more frequently targeted by shoplifters, and that certain products are kept locked because of a greater risk of theft.

 “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,” Crowson said. “Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting. We take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court.”

 

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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative. pcoley@spectacularmag.com
http://www.spectacularmag.com

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