The plaintiff in a suit filed in Alexandria federal court claims Best Buy’s theft-prevention program in Virginia and Washington targets racial and ethnic minorities.
Todd Abed, a former Best Buy manager, says the company torpedoed his 13-year career with the electronics retailer because he objected to the company’s “Be On the Lookout” policy for suspected shoplifters.
According to the complaint, the pictures and descriptions circulated under the lookout program consistently involved racial and ethnic minorities who had done nothing to merit suspicion. The notices allegedly carried racially tinged descriptions such as “bearded Middle Eastern guy who looked shady” or “black ghetto guy.”
Abed refused to post what he saw as discriminatory notices. His suit, referred to U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, seeks $1 million and attorneys’ fees.
Abed is represented by Washington’s Clinton & Peed which posted its news release on the case.
Best Buy, the nation’s largest electronics retail chain, recently agreed to pay $10 million to settle a class action employment discrimination lawsuit.
By Peter Vieth