Essie Grundy has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Walmart, accusing the retailer of keeping their hair and skin products used by African Americans behind a locked glass display case.
The 43-year-old mother of five said that she recently went to a Walmart close to her home in Perris to buy skin cream. When she was shopping, she noticed that some of the beauty products used by Africans Americans were locked behind glass. She complained to a store associate, but was told the policy was directive from Walmart’s corporate offices.
Grundy returned to same Walmart to buy a 48 cent comb and noticed that it also locked behind glass. She said she was shocked that such a cheap item was locked up while beauty products for other races weren’t kept behind glass.
Grundy urged that African-Americans need to be treated equal. “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,” she said.
“When I walked down the aisle and saw that Walmart had placed all of the African-American hair and skin products under lock-and-key, I had to pause,” she added. “I felt that I was being treated as a person who might be a thief, even though I have no criminal history.”
Grundy’s attorney, Gloria Allred, said Walmart employees escorted Grundy to the cash register to pay for her items.
“That is discrimination in our view,” Allred said during the news conference. “That is second-class citizenship. That is being treated with the utmost disrespect. That’s racial profiling.”
Walmart has denied these accusations.
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart,” a spokesperson for the company said. “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.”
The lawsuit demands for Walmart to immediately end its policy of “segregated” beauty products.
This isn’t the first time a business has been accused of racial discrimination. Last November, a woman filed a lawsuit against Boone’s Fish House in Maine, alleging she and her friends received second-class service for being ethnically diverse.
RyiSHisa Morris said that the wait staff made snide comments and gave poor service to her and her friends. She claimed the servers didn’t respond to their requests, took an hour to place their orders and served the meals to the wrong diners.
“I was so disappointed at how we were treated,” Morris said in a statement released by her lawyer. “I hope this lawsuit will make restaurants like Boone’s Fish House understand that the law requires them to treat all patrons the same, no matter their race.”