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Imbesi Christensen files class action lawsuit on behalf of Sephora customers alleging discrimination
Proposed class action lawsuit alleges that Sephora discriminated against Chinese-American customers by blocking access to their online accounts because their e-mail addresses indicated they were of Chinese descent.
By: Imbesi Christensen
The proposed class action was filed by four U.S. women of Chinese descent who claim their accounts were deactivated earlier this month because they have Asian surnames. The complaint alleges that Sephora blocked the online accounts of numerous customers with Asian names because it suspected them of buying discount items in bulk to resell them.
According to the complaint, on November 6, 2014, Sephora’s promotional sale caused its website to crash. The company claimed the crash was a result of a large number of bulk shoppers attempting to take advantage of the low prices so they could resell the items for a profit.
The complaint alleges that only customers with Asian names or email addresses from Chinese domains were blocked from the site in the hours after it crashed, which potentially affected thousands of shoppers.
In the days after the crash, the lawsuit alleges that hundreds of Sephora shoppers with Asian surnames complained on Facebook about their inability to access their accounts.
The four plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages and a court order barring the company from engaging in the alleged practice.
The case is Xiao Xiao v. Sephora USA Inc, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 14-cv-9181.