CVS Pharmacy Sued for Racial Discrimination (Again)

Security was allegedly told to "go after Latinos and Blacks."

A few former undercover security guards at CVS Pharmacy filed a class-action lawsuit in New York against their former employer, accusing their bosses of ordering them to target black and Hispanic shoppers.

Led by former store detective Sheldon Thomas, he and a few of his colleagues allege that they were forced to target folks who weren’t white for fear of shoplifting, racially profile everyone from the store cameras, and were “constantly required to endure the use of racial slurs by their superiors and store managers.”

This is 2016, right?

“Make sure to watch the Spanish because they are thieves and crooks,” Thomas alleges he was told repeatedly by one of the regional loss managers. He and another manager also called black customers “n*****s” and made statements such as, “Our numbers [of caught shoplifters] should be up there because lots of n*****s and Hispanics can’t afford anything,” and, “Watch the black n*****s that come in the store,” the lawsuit states.

In an email to BuzzFeed News, CVS senior director of communications Mike DeAngelis said the claims made in the lawsuits have so far not been backed up by deposition testimony.

“This lawsuit appears to be little more than rehashes allegations,” DeAngelis told BuzzFeed News in an email regarding Thomas’ suit.

Rehashes? Yeah, that’s the thing. CVS is getting good at deflecting claims of bigotry. In June 2015, there was another class-action lawsuit about the loss prevention department and its prejudices against certain shoppers:

The suit says that one of the supervisors, Anthony Salvatore, routinely told subordinates that “black people always are the ones that are the thieves,” and that “lots of Hispanic people steal.” The second supervisor, Abdul Selene, frequently advised detectives, known at CVS as market investigators, to “watch the black and Hispanic people to catch more cases,” the suit said.

So, Mr. DeAngelis? You were saying?

“They all testified under oath that they were aware of, and followed, the company’s anti-discrimination policies,” DeAngelis said. “Moreover, they could not identify a single instance of a CVS customer being racially profiled.”

Yet, now nine former store detectives recall being forced to do just that. Here’s an excerpt from the 2015 suit:

The suit says that one of the supervisors, Anthony Salvatore, routinely told subordinates that “black people always are the ones that are the thieves,” and that “lots of Hispanic people steal.” The second supervisor, Abdul Selene, frequently advised detectives, known at CVS as market investigators, to “watch the black and Hispanic people to catch more cases,” the suit said.

Is there a prescription we can provide for bigotry? We’re asking for a friend.