Move over, Chick-Fil-A: it’s time to make room for another discriminatory franchise. The popular fast food chain Dunkin’ Donuts is being sued by franchise owners for discriminating against minorities, specifically African Americans and Indians.
Priti Shetty, an Indian American woman and Dunkin’ franchisee, is suing the company for its biased treatment towards people of color. In her claim, Shetty notes though many Indian women who work for the chain, none are multi-unit mangers in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, or Rhode Island. Shetty also alleges that Wayne Miller, a rep for Dunkin’, told her she was not “servile enough.”
Shetty's claim follows another suit filed against the company in New Jersey accusing the company of favoring white franchise owners. According to the suit, white owners are given better locations for their businesses, forcing African American owners to operate in poor and disadvantaged areas. The complaint also states that Dunkin’ doesn’t have any African American owners in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, just as Shetty claimed.
Sadly, Dunkin’ Donuts –– which was rated one of the top 10 best franchises in the nation –– is not the first company to face allegations of racist business practices. In 2006, a Quiznos in California settled a lawsuit which alleged the owners refused to give a black teenage girl a job application because of her race. IHOP is also facing charges that it fired franchise owners because they’re Muslim. And Denny’s, which has a history of racist behavior, is being sued again for racial discrimination against a family in East St. Louis.
It's not just food chains that are having this problem. The gym franchise 24 Hour Fitness is facing a lawsuit from African American, Asian, and Hispanic female workers who claim they hit “a glass ceiling whenever they apply for higher-paying jobs at the company."
With failure rates of less than 10% for many companies, franchises are supposed to be a way for entrepreneurs to develop a stronghold in the business world. Not only do franchises make big bucks for both local owners and corporations, but they can be one of the best ways for women and people of color to break into the business world. However, as these charges of prejudice clearly indicate, some brands want to maintain the “ol’ boys network” at any cost, even if it’s detrimental to business.
The recent controversy over Chick-Fil-A when it was revealed that owner Dan Cathy was against same-sex marriage should serve as warning to any company that is caught treating their employees unfairly. Most consumers are unaware of the discriminatory practices of the chains they frequent, but once they learn the truth, customers make their feelings known by taking their business elsewhere.
If you’re still craving a donut, but don’t want to support racial discrimination, consider switching over to team Krispy Kreme for a while.