Macy's taunted, detained and extorted Hijab-wearing Muslim shopper: Lawsuit - Metro US

Macy’s taunted, detained and extorted Hijab-wearing Muslim shopper: Lawsuit

Macy's Herald Squarein New York City.
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A Manhattan woman is suing Macy’s after she says she was wrongfully accused of shoplifting from the Herald Square store and pressured into paying a fine while detained in a store holding cell and being taunted for her Muslim garb.

Samya Moftah, 53, an Egyptian-American living on the Upper West Side, says the incident happened when she went to return shirts and decided to keep the garments for family members, DNAinfo reported. But on her way out she purchased a few other items, the report said. As she exited the store, Macy’s staff allegedly grabbed her and detained her in a holding cell for several hours while at times mocking her Hijab.

Related: Macy’s reaches deal to avert strike

Moftah’s case joined forces with another lawsuit filed by Cinthia Orellana, who said a similar incident happened to her in 2015. As a result of the class action suit, a New York Judge has ordered that Macy’s refrain from detaining and fining suspected shoplifters.

According to the suit, two Macy’s employees broughtMoftahto a detention cell in the basement and patted her down.

“One of the female employees [said] in a mocking tone to, ‘see what is under that scarf!’ referring to the hijab I was wearing on my head,” Moftah wrote in the filing, according to DNAinfo.

Moftah said she was forced to sign documents without reading them.

“At this point in time I didn’t know what else to do except to start crying,” she wrote in the suit. “This was the middle of Ramadan and I was fasting, and I felt weak, dizzy, overwhelmed.”

Moftah said one of the employees taunted her for being Muslim “and stealing on Ramadan.”

The mega retailer allegedly detained more than 6,000 people in New York in one year, NewsOne reported.

It’s not the first time the retailer has faced racial profiling claims.

In 2014, the chain paid out $650,000 in a class-action suit filed by 18 minority customers who claimed discrimination at the Herald Square store between 2007 and 2013, the International Business Times reported.

A Macy’s spokesman told DNAinfo that the case relates to an “in-store civil recovery” practice that was discontinued in fall of 2015. He declined to comment further, citing active litigation.

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