People leave a CVS store in Manhattan on May 21, 2015 in New York City.
Four former CVS employees—all of them African American—are suing the pharmacy chain because they say they were forced to racially profile customers in order to prevent shoplifting, the New York Daily News reports. The employees also claim in their lawsuit that they themselves were harassed because they were black.
The four individuals—Sheree Steele, Kerth Polock, Lacole Simpson and Delbert Sorhaindo—accused two regional managers in Manhattan and Queens of ordering employees to specifically target black and Hispanic CVS shoppers when scoping out potential shoplifters. The quartet described what they were told to do as “utterly despicable and racist directives,” the Daily News explains.
The managers who stand accused are Anthony Salvatore and Abdule Selene. According to the lawsuit, Salvatore described how black people are the prime suspects for store thefts.
“These black people are always the ones that are the thieves,” Salvatore is accused of saying. He also allegedly indicted Latino consumers too, adding that about a particular CVS location had “lots of Hispanic people steal there,” the lawsuit claims.
After complaining to management about the racism they say they were subjected to in the work place, the employees were fired.
A CVS spokesperson has yet to respond to inquiries made by the Daily News.