Department store chain settles Muslim discrimination complaint
A national department store chain has settled a discrimination complaint by two Muslim shoppers in Connecticut who say they were falsely accused of shoplifting because of their Islamic attire.
May Department Stores Company, the parent company of the Meriden, Conn., Lord & Taylor store in which the incident took place, reached the settlement with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group. That settlement includes an apology and monetary compensation.
In September 2000, the two female shoppers were accused of shoplifting after exiting a ladies' fitting room. The Muslim women said that even after store security realized they had not stolen any merchandise, a security guard continued to accuse them of theft and attempted to remove the religiously-mandated headscarf of one of the women.
"Although many companies have clear non-discrimination guidelines, the real test for any policy comes when an incident such as this takes place. May Department Stores passed that test by demonstrating that they value Muslim customers," said CAIR Civil Rights Manager Joshua Salaam.
The May Department Stores Company currently operates 436 department stores
in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.