LIVERMORE (CBS SF) — A Versace store in Livermore is at the center of a shocking lawsuit that claims black customers were racially profiled every time they entered the outlet location.
A man who used to work at the outlet store alleged that Versace employees used a special code to let the manager know when a black person has entered the store.
According to court documents, 23-year-old Christopher Shapiro is suing Versace. He claims that when he started working at the outlet store in Livermore, a manager told him about a special code they used in the store.
Whenever an employee saw an African-American customer walk in, the suit alleges the employee was supposed to say “D-410.”
That’s the alphanumeric code Versace uses to classify black-colored clothing.
The spoken code was also supposed to give all employees a heads up that an African American was in the store.
The court documents said Shapiro let his manager know he was a quarter black and that manager then started treating him differently.
“The fact that there’s an allegation is going to look bad for the company and will look bad for anyone who is working for the brand,” said shopper Kyler Harvey. “It’s a bad look overall I think. And if it’s true, I think they should have a definite overhaul in the company and to improve their diversity.”
Shapiro claims he was fired two weeks after and was told he did not quote “understand luxury”
In a statement to TMZ, Versace denied the allegations and said: “We do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race national origin or any other characteristic protected by our civil rights laws.”
Versace added that the company strongly believes in equal opportunity as an employer.
There will be a case status conference next March.