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Three franchise owners sue Dunkin' Donuts, alleging racial discrimination

You would think a doughnut shop would be a pleasant place to work. After all, who doesn't like doughnuts? Any Detroit resident who has a stop at a bakery planned probably has a better morning because of it.

However, three franchisees of Dunkin' Donuts recently sued the company, alleging "systematic racial discrimination" against blacks and Indian women.

The plaintiff who is Indian sued the company, alleging that she was not permitted to open a third New Jersey store because Dunkin' Donuts executives were biased against her because of her age and race.

The two plaintiffs who are black claim that they were "steered away" from opening locations in their home state of New Jersey. Instead, they allege, Dunkin' Donuts shunted them off to the less economically favorable state of Maryland, where the stores failed. They claim their race was the basis for Dunkin' Donuts decision.

In a statement, Dunkin' said it could not comment on pending litigation. However, a spokeswoman added that "our franchisee diversity and our franchisee relationships are a source of pride for us and a strength within our system."

In this day and age, there is no excuse for a systematic bias against people because of their age, race or sex. We don't know if what these plaintiffs are claiming is true, but that previous sentence is a truism that should extend to every workplace in America. Sometimes, though, people need to hire attorneys to make sure that their rights as a person, an employee or a franchisee are respected. We wish we lived in a world where that was not necessary, but it is undeniable that in some circumstances, it is.

Source: Reuters, "Dunkin' accused of racial bias by ex-franchise owners," Nivedita Bhattacharjee, Aug. 21, 2012

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