ACLU Case No. 2013-23
Hot Mama, a national retail chain with three stores in Colorado, has a theft mitigation policy that instructs employees to identify “potential thieves” and follow them around the store until they become uncomfortable and leave. Potential thieves are defined as people who do not “look like typical Hot Mama shoppers.” The store’s written policy specifically acknowledges that some customers will recognize that they are being followed “because of [their] race” and instructs employees not to “worry about making them uncomfortable.” According to the policy, “That is your goal in this situation. The more uncomfortable they become, the quicker they leave… forever.”
The ACLU of Colorado sent a letter to the National Headquarters of Hot Mama informing the CEO that the policy violates Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, which make it illegal to refuse or deny a person “the full and equal enjoyment of goods and services” at a public place of accommodation because of race or color. The ACLU of Colorado requests that the company “rescind its discriminatory policy and initiate company-wide training to ensure that Hot Mama employees no longer rely on race in dealing with customers.”
UPDATE 11/26/13 12pm: The ACLU of Colorado received confirmation from the CEO of Hot Mama that the company intends to make changes to its policy and training based on our letter.
Mark Silverstein , ACLU of Colorado Legal Director
Sara R. Neel , ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney
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