When you think of Macy’s, you probably think of make-up counters and clothing, not jail. But the department store does have a holding cell inside its New York flagship location, according to Jezebel.
A class action lawsuit filed against Macy’s claims that the retailer detained at least two women suspected of shoplifting for hours in the basement of its New York store. Both were forced to pay Macy’s a fee before they were turned over to New York police and formally charged. The fee was known as “civil recovery.”
The judge ruled Macy’s has no right to detain people and force them to pay what Jezebel called a “ransom.”
One of the women, Cinthia Carolina Reyes Orellana, says she was detained carrying clothes between floors at the store.
Another woman, Sonya Moftah, told the Guardian she was carrying bags of items, some of which she was planning on exchanging, when she was pulled aside, patted down and heard employees say, “See what’s under the scarf” in reference to her hijab, a religious veil worn by Muslim women.
According to an affidavit provided to the Guardian, Moftah was told she had to pay $100 in order to go home and was taunted by employees who said she stole during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
While police charged her with minor crimes, her case was ultimately thrown out by the courts. Orellana’s charges were also dropped.
“We are claiming is that this is all by design. To accuse someone, hold them, charge them money, and then transfer them to the criminal justice system,” Moftah’s attorneys said in a statement to the Guardian. “Orellana and Moftah went to the court to prove their innocence. It’s like the police pulling you over, giving you a ticket and demanding money on the spot. If not worse.”