Korean American Woman Sues CVS for Slur on Receipt

A CVS pharmacy receipt identifying a Korean American female customer by an offensive racial slur instead of her name spurred the outraged victim to file suit seeking damages for emotional distress.

After returning home from picking up photos at the CVS store in Egg Harbor City in southern New Jersey in February Hyun Lee noticed that the receipt had her name as “Ching Chong Lee”. It was obviously an intentional slur and not a typographical error because the email notifying Lee that the photos were ready had been addressed to her real name.

“I was horrified because it just brought back old memories of growing up as a minority,” Lee said who recalled being subjected to racial slurs while growing up in Bergen County.

With two young children and a third due in a month, the receipt made Lee more concerned about the discrimination her children will face. Lee emailed a complaint to the store, then retained attorney Susan Lask.

“I was disgusted. I didn’t want to go back to the store anymore,” Lee said.

CVS emailed back saying that the worker would be “counseled and trained” and apologizing for the clerk’s action.

Lee’s lawsuit was filed in the Camden federal district court on April 16 seeking $1 million in damages for mental and emotional distress. Lee also demanded that the store fire the clerk who had typed the slur.

“CVS/pharmacy is committed to treating all of our customers with dignity and respect,” said spokesman Mike DeAngelis who added that the company has a firm non-discrimination policy but doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

A similar lawsuit was filed last year against the Hooters chain by Korean American Kisuk Cha who saw that he and his girlfriend had been described as “Chinx” on his receipt for a takeout order from the chain’s Fresh Meadows, Queens restaurant.

Last January a Papa John’s Pizza restaurant in upper Manhattan apologized to an Asian customer described as “lady chinky eyes” on her food order. It isn’t clear whether suit was filed as a result of that incident.