Grocery Store slapped with $10,000 fine after Staff treated Customer based on the Skin Color in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA: After a Black customer claimed discrimination over being forced to shop without his backpack while other customers were allowed to, the city of Los Angeles levied a $10,000 fine on a grocery store chain situated on the West Coast. This was a first for the city.

According to CBS Los Angeles, Corey Brown spoke during a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall on Monday about his experience shopping at a Smart & Final store on Figueroa Street downtown on September 22, 2022, and the city’s Civil Rights Department issued the fine.

“I just wanted to go grocery shopping, but the store treated me differently than the other customers simply because of the color of my skin,” Brown explained to CBS Los Angeles.

The way Brown described it, he had visited the store “hundreds of times before” when security had stopped him.

To enter the store, Brown was instructed by the security officer to set her backpack on the floor in front of it, as Brown stated during the news conference.

Brown claimed he opted to return home to drop off his backpack before returning to Smart & Final to continue shopping since it contained mail and other personal stuff. He didn’t want to leave his rucksack on the floor of the store.

Instead of being requested to leave their bags and backpacks on the filthy floor at the front of the store, Brown noticed that other customers, who were not African-American, were allowed to keep them while shopping.

According to the news source, an inquiry into Brown’s complaint with the department revealed that the store’s bag policy was discriminatory and implemented based on customers’ appearance.

The security vendor for the supermarket shop chain was also fined $5,000.

The fines were the first measure taken by the city to enforce the Civil Human Rights Law, which was approved by the council in 2019, according to LAist.

Local enforcement is permitted by the law, which “prohibits discrimination in the private sector areas of commerce, education, employment and housing” and “allows for Angelenos to wait, sometimes for years, to have a discrimination case resolved at the state or federal level,” as stated on the website of the city’s civil rights department.