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Retailers post customer 'Bill of Rights' after racial profiling allegations

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 2259 GMT (0659 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Macy's and Barneys New York among stores to post "Bill of Rights"
  • Four people have cited racial profiling in New York City department stores this year
  • "Profiling is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated," the document reads
  • Document expected to be posted in department stores and on their websites this week

(CNN) -- Civil rights leaders met with retail chain representatives and agreed to create a customer bill of rights -- to be posted in department stores in the coming days -- in response to allegations of racial profiling in multiple retail chains.

The one-page document is also expected to be posted to the department store websites, which will include Macy's, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, according to a press conference on Monday.

"Profiling is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated," the document states, drafted by the Retail Council of New York State, along with National Action Network and Reverend Al Sharpton.

The groups first met on November 20 after several black shoppers alleged they were racially profiled at Macy's and Barneys New York earlier this year.

"Employees who violate the company's prohibition on profiling will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment," the document says.

In addition to prohibiting racial profiling, the customers' bill of rights also prohibits "the use of excessive force or using threatening, vulgar language when apprehending or detaining suspects."

"We are cooperating with the groups we have formed and we are going to continue to cooperate and we look forward to welcoming everybody as a customer of Macy's," Macy's Vice President of Government Affairs Edward Goldberg told a news conference after Monday's meeting.

"I think it's a good idea to have a bill of rights because then that way you can defend yourself and have backup," department store shopper Carla Ellis told CNN affiliate WABC.

"I'll believe it when I see it," said another shopper, Rodney Jennings.

HBO television actor Robert Brown filed a lawsuit in November against the New York Police Department and Macy's Inc., accusing them of racially profiling him, according to court documents.

Brown was the fourth person to say they were targeted after shopping at a New York department store because of race this year, and the second to accuse Macy's of racial profiling. The other two said they were racially profiled at Barneys New York.

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