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Barneys to Pay $525K in Racial Profiling Settlement

The retailer has taken steps to (hopefully) keep this from happening again.

As you may recall, last fall, Barneys was brought up on racial profiling charges twice in one week. The allegations made many a headline, and made for a particularly huge story because of a Jay-Z collaboration the retailer was set to release that holiday season.

After working with civil rights leaders and being investigated by the office of New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Barneys has settled, agreeing to pay $525,000 in costs, fees and penalties, WWD reports.

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the designer retailer entered into an agreement with the Attorney General that lays out a few tasks and requirements for Barneys to follow going forward. They reflect the allegations Barneys faced specifically -- both of last year's incidents involved African-Americans being questioned by police (who were tipped off by staff) and accused of credit card fraud after making expensive purchases, which turned out to be entirely valid. The Attorney General also found that, separate from those instances, a disproportionate number of customers Barneys had detained were racial minorities.

The points in the agreement include:

• Retain an independent anti-profiling consultant with expertise in the prevention of racial profiling in loss prevention and asset protection.

• Establish new record-keeping requirements on investigations, detentions and false stops conducted by loss-prevention employees.

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• Limit access to closed-circuit television areas by local law enforcement officers and maintain records of visits by local officers.

• Adopt new loss-prevention detention policies and a new anti-profiling policy.

• Develop and conduct anti-profiling training for loss-prevention and sales employees.

• Investigate customer complaints of profiling.

“During the entirety of our 90-year history, Barneys New York has prided itself on providing an unparalleled customer experience to every person that comes into contact with our brand -- open and welcoming to one and all," Barneys CEO Mark Lee said in a statement shared with Fashionista. "We are a truly progressive company that has absolutely no tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and believe this agreement will help build on that commitment and further strengthen our organization in the years and decades to come.”

Macy's, which also faced racial profiling allegations last year, is still under investigation.