According to a new Center for Popular Democracy report detailed on Mashable, popular retailer Zara has a company policy that encourages employees to follow customers around the store if they appear likely to steal, calling them a “special order.” The report showed that out of 251 Zara employees surveyed in New York, 57 percent were familiar with the term “special order,” and 46 percent said black shoppers were “always” or “often” given that label. According to the report, “black customers are almost seven times more likely to be labeled a special order than white customers.” The report also revealed that “customers of color are treated differently when they attempt to make returns or exchanges to Zara stores.” One employee cited a case where a black customer was denied a request to return, yet a white customer returned a product without being questioned. In a comment to Fashionista, a Zara USA spokesperson said, “Zara USA vehemently refutes the claims contained in the Center for Popular Democracy report, which was prepared with ulterior motives and not because of any actual discrimination or mistreatment…” This is not the first time Zara has been at the center of controversy. In 2014 customers complained about a “sheriff” shirt that looked like a Nazi concentration camp uniform causing the store to remove the product.
Read the full story at the Mashable.