Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Fee Settles Racial Profiling Case Towards Nationwide Low cost Retailer

Store agrees to pay $ 8,600 to African American customers who have been racially profiled by store management.

Press release

Des Moines, Iowa – Wednesday, July 14, 2021 – On Tuesday July 13, the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission reached a settlement agreement against a national dollar discount chain that was raising racist profiles of customers of African descent. The case involved two African American women who entered the store to shop, but when they tried to leave the store the door was locked and they were prevented from leaving until their purse was searched.

During that search, management announced that they conducted the search in part because they were black. During the search and discussion that followed, the deputy branch manager allowed people of European descent to leave the store without searching their bags or purses. The search revealed that nothing was stolen.

The Des Moines Human Rights Ordinance’s public accommodation regulations prohibit companies and organizations offering their services to the public from racial discrimination, which includes racial profiling and false allegations based on the color of the client.

“We believe these cases happen all the time, and if these two brave young women hadn’t recorded the interaction, it could have been a ‘he said she said’ case,” said Commission Director Joshua V. Barr . . “We encourage anyone who is uncomfortable interacting with a company to record and save the interaction; under Iowa law, you have that right. ”

The commission found likely reason to believe that the Des Moines public housing law violated the civil rights of the two African American women. The case was eventually settled for one complainant for $ 8,600 while the other complainant decided to take further action in a state court.

Another part of the deal required that the company put in place an anti-discrimination policy prohibiting local store employees from engaging in discriminatory or harassing behavior towards customers based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation and / or gender identification. ”A training program for store employees will also be developed and management will be required to post a non-discriminatory Commission notice in their store.

“We believe that only through changes in policy and practice can we really eliminate discrimination and create a truly inclusive society,” said Director Barr. “Our job is to make sure everyone has the same experience when they shop and interact with stores and businesses. So don’t be afraid to speak up and report situations that you think are discriminatory. ”

Anyone who believes they have been discriminated against can file a complaint by contacting the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission at (515) 283-4284 or [email protected]. Discrimination complaints can also be filed online.

The municipal code protects the confidentiality of all parties involved in the complaint.

Joshua V. Barr
Director, Des Moines Civil and Human Rights
(515) 283-4284
[email protected]

Via the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission
The Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission works to promote justice and equality for all people living or visiting Des Moines by creating an atmosphere of opportunity, regardless of race, color, belief, religion, age, gender , sexual orientation, descent, nationality, origin, physical and mental disabilities or marital status. More information is available at

About the city of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital and local government with more than 217,000 residents, more than 51 neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of hiking trails.The city of Des Moines is a financially strong city with exceptional urban services that fosters an engaged community in a customer-friendly atmosphere. Visit, Facebook and Twitter for more information.

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