Victor VIRGILE—Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
By Samantha Cooney
December 27, 2016
Samantha Cooney is the content strategy editor at TIME.

A former Versace employee alleged that the luxury brand had a secret code to signal to employees that a black customer had entered the store, CNN reported.

Christopher Sampiro filed a lawsuit against the Italian fashion house, claiming that he was fired from the brand’s outlet store in Pleasanton, California because he was mixed-race. According to court documents viewed by CNN, Sampiro’s lawsuit claims that store employees were taught during training to say “D410” whenever a black customer entered the store.

“You know that I’m African American?” Sampiro responded to a manager who told him about the code. Sampiro says he was fired two weeks later because he didn’t “know the luxury life,” according to CNN.

Versace denied all of Sampiro’s claims and asked a judge to dismiss the case, according to CNN. Sampiro’s lawsuit was first reported by TMZ.

Sampiro’s lawsuit is the latest allegations in a string of high-profile cases of racial profiling in department stores. In 2014, Macy’s agreed to pay $650,000 to settle a lawsuit about racial profiling claims in its New York flagship store. Earlier that year, Barney’s New York paid $525,000 to settle a similar lawsuit.


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