Justice

Former Versace Worker Is Accusing the Store of Racially Profiling Customers

December 28th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

A former Versace employee has claimed in a recent lawsuit that the fashion brand has been using discriminatory practices against its black shoppers. 

Versace

Christopher Sampino worked at the Versace outlet store on Livermore Outlets Drive in San Francisco, California, for two weeks. The 23-year-old alleged in his complaint, which was filed in November, that store management told him to say “D410,” which is also a code used to identify the store's black apparel, anytime a black person walked into the store. Sampino, who identifies as biracial, claimed that this encounter prompted him to tell his manager that he's black. He claimed after he revealed his race that he was subjected to unfair treatment and was ultimately dismissed from the store. He said in the suit that he was told by the store's management that his dismissal was a result of him not “[knowing] luxury” and because he “had not lived the luxury life.”

Versace, which has requested to move the case to federal court, denied the allegations of racism in Sampino's lawsuit. The company said the following in a statement to the East Bay Times:

“Versace believes strongly in equal opportunity, as an employer and a retailer. We do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, national origin or any other characteristic protected by our civil rights laws. We have denied the allegations in this suit, and we will not comment further concerning pending litigation.”

Other big retailers have been accused of discriminating against black customers, as well.

In March, a former CVS security guard alleged in a lawsuit that he was told to look out for black and Hispanic customers as potential shoplifters. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) accused Wal-Mart of racism in December, claiming that the retailer purposely placed beauty products that are popular among black customers under increased security in Suffolk, Virginia.

A video went viral on Facebook in December, which showed a black woman named Kimberly Houzah getting kicked out of Victoria's Secret after another black customer was found shoplifting at the store. The video received more than 8 million views and started a conversation on social media about the treatment of black customers in stores.

ATTN: has reached out to Versace for further comment and will update this piece if we hear back.

[H/T LA Times]