Four former CVS theft investigators say their supervisors ordered them to target black and Latino shoppers in some New York City stores, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the nation's second-largest drugstore chain.
The former employees said that supervisors routinely told them to racially profile black and Hispanic shoppers even when there was no indication that those people might steal. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, states that the supervisors never gave similar instructions regarding white shoppers.
The complaint, which seeks class status, claims CVS intentionally targets and racially profiles shoppers based on the "ill-founded institutional belief ... minority customers are criminals and thieves."
CVS spokeswoman Carolyn Castel said in an email that the company doesn't tolerate discrimination and is shocked by the allegations.
"CVS Health has firm nondiscrimination policies that it rigorously enforces," she wrote. "We serve all communities and we do not tolerate any policy or practice that discriminates against any group."
The plaintiffs said that they were subjected to increased scrutiny within weeks of complaining about the procedures, and they were eventually fired.
The plaintiffs are all either black or Hispanic.
CVS Health Corp., based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, runs 7,800 drugstores, a total that trails only Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.