Report Claims Zara Workers Targeted Black Shoppers As Potential Shoplifters

TIME

Racial discrimination may be an issue at New York-based Zara retail stores, according to a new report by the Center for Popular Democracy. The survey of New York City Zara employees conducted earlier this year found that black customers were seven times more likely to be tagged as potential shoplifters than other customers.

More than half of employees mentioned using the code word “special order” to identify suspicious customers, though employees said the code word was phased out midway through the survey. (The survey was conducted without the cooperation of Zara.) 46 percent of those who defined “special order” said that black customers were identified by the phase “always” or “often.” That’s compared to only 14 percent for Latino customers and 7 percent for white customers.

Beyond customers, the survey found that employees of color perceived widespread discrimination at the company. Black employees were twice as likely to be unhappy…

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