A black woman filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Walmart for segregating hair care products. Essie Grundy, of Perris, Calif., was visiting a local store to buy skin care items when she noticed that black hair care products were locked away in a protective case.
“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.”
On a separate occasion, Grundy went to the store to buy a $0.48 comb, that was also locked away in the clear case, KTLA reports. 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.
“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 spokesperson Charles Crowson denied discrimination claims and revealed that store items are locked up based on popularity among shoplifters, a decision which is usually made on “store-by-store basis and often at the discretion of the store manager.”
“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 adding that the company has yet to review Grundy’s complaint. “We take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court.”