Public enemy No. 1 at your local CVS: Grandma and Grandpa.
Seven discrimination lawsuits filed Monday against the pharmacy chain in courts across the city include the revelation that a CVS “Loss Prevention” handbook warns employees that senior citizens on a “fixed income” present a “special shoplifting concern.”
Attorneys from the Manhattan law firm Wigdor LLP brought the suits on behalf of former employees arguing that the policy is “tantamount to an admission of discrimination against older customers.”
The lawyers, Michael Willemin and David Gottlieb, have testimony from 16 whistleblower ex-staffers who claim that CVS stores across the city discriminate by profiling elderly shoppers, as well as blacks and Hispanics.
CVS’s 2014 “Loss Prevention” training guide says that “each store may have special shoplifting concerns based on it’s location, type of customer, etc.,” according to court papers. Sticky-fingered seniors are listed as one “special concern,” the suit says.
One of the cases was brought by a former “market investigator” for CVS named Anson Alfonso. The Bronx man was part of a team of undercover employees who helped track and bust shoplifters.
Alfonso, 27, worked as a store detective from January 2013 to October 2014. He told The Post that store managers, supervisors and even stock personnel would frequently swipe security tags past checkpoints to set off an alarm when an elderly person was ambling out of the CVS.
He said co-workers would set off the alarms “and make me humiliate people or embarrass people for no reason.”
“They would say, ‘I didn’t see it but I know that old person was stealing,’ ” Alfonso said.
The shoplifting-among-the-AARP-set theory mirrors a 1998 “Seinfeld” episode titled “The Bookstore,” in which Jerry catches his Uncle Leo stealing a book from Brentano’s. When Jerry confronts him, Leo protests that the petty theft is his right as a senior citizen.
“It’s not stealing if it’s something you need,” Jerry’s dad, Morty, says, with his mom, Helen, noting, “Nobody pays for everything.”
A shocked Jerry shouts, “You’re stealing, too?!” and Morty explains, “Nothing. Batteries. Well, they wear out so quick.”
But attorney David Gottlieb says there’s nothing funny about the pharmacy chain harassing innocent seniors and other groups protected under the law.
“It is reprehensible that CVS targets customers based on race, ethnicity and even age, and we intend to hold the company accountable for these practices,” he said.
The new filings come a year after Gottlieb’s firm sued CVS in a federal class action, alleging store managers ordered security guards to focus on minorities.
A CVS spokeswoman said, “We are not aware of these new cases, so we are unable to comment specifically. However, in previous cases brought by the same law firm on similar complaints, plaintiffs’ attorneys have not been able to produce any documentary evidence to support their allegations.”