A 73-year-old Scottsdale, AZ resident is accusing book retailer Barnes & Noble of discrimination after an employee had him booted from the store for shopping by himself in the children’s section.

Omar Amin, who holds a doctorate and is the director of the Parasitology Center, Inc., in addition to being an expert in infectious diseases, claims that B&N employee Todd Voris had him removed after a female shopper complained about his presence in the children’s area of the store on May 4. He was by himself and purchasing books for his grandsons in Wisconsin.

Amin, a frequent Barnes & Noble shopper, was told that men cannot be by themselves in the region of the store reserved for kids. He says Voris told him that other bookstores had experienced issues with child molesters. That’s a huge leap for the employee to take, not to mention an inherently discriminatory policy.

When contacted, a spokeswoman for the retailer initially offered no additional comment via email other than to write, “We believe we acted appropriately.” However, the store has since admitted it was wrong.

Amin says his discrimination complaint has yet to be addressed to his satisfaction, despite claims that it would be investigated. He is considering taking legal action, especially since he feels his dignity was violated when he was escorted out and treated like a potential sex offender.

“They’re trying to push it under the rug and they are not taking responsibility for what happened,” Amin said. He is firm in his desire to resolve this matter to his liking, saying, “I’m not going to go away.”

Amin does not understand why another customer complained about him, as he claims to have only used his cell phone while seated in the quiet children’ section. He said he was not otherwise disruptive. He asked to speak to the complainant, but was denied.

The doctor and grandfather may have a case if there is no policy stopping women from shopping in the children’s section by themselves, as it would indicate gender bias. There was also no posted sign indicating the store’s policy, either.

While we can understand and appreciate the store’s commitment to protecting our children and keeping a watchful eye on any predatory behavior, Amin does appear to have been treated unfairly, especially when he was not allowed to face his accuser and the fact that he was apparently breaking a rule unbeknownst to him by browsing in the children’s area while unaccompanied.

[The Arizona Republic]

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