Woman Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Walmart Over Placement Of Beauty Products

Essie Grundy says the store keeps items for African Americans "under lock and key."

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A woman in California has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Walmart, claiming that the retail giant's policy of keeping certain beauty and hair care products behind lock and key is discriminatory.

Essie Grundy told reporters that she was shopping for a comb at a Walmart in Perris, California when she was shocked to discover that "all of the African-American products was locked up under lock and key," she told CBS LA.

When Grundy asked to speak to a manager, she was told that keeping those particular products in a locked glass case was store policy. Grundy says she was escorted to the cashier by an employee and was not allowed to touch the comb until she purchased it.

After the incident, Grundy hired attorney Gloria Allred to sue the company for racial discrimination. Grundy and Allred also want the store to issue an apology, and are seeking a court injunction that will put a stop to the practice.

"I just feel that we need to be treated equal," Grundy said during a news conference last week. "It's no way that we should be treated . . . just because of a complexion. We are all human and we deserve to be treated as everyone else."

Since news of Grundy's suit began to spread, other Walmart shoppers have taken to social media to post photos of ethnic hair care products being kept in a locked glass case.

Walmart has released a statement on the suit, telling Business Insider, "We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart. We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store."

"We're sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security," the statement continues. "Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures. While we've yet to review a complaint, we take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court."

[Photo: Getty Images]

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