Dunkin’ Donuts faces commercial litigation

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Dunkin’ Donuts is a publicly traded company with many locations throughout Florida. The donut shops are typically franchises owned and operated by independent franchisees.

One franchisee has filed a lawsuit against the coffee and donut chain recently claiming that she has suffered racial discrimination by the franchise. This franchise owner happens to be a female of Indian descent. Though many Indian women work for Dunkin’ Donuts, she is apparently the only female Indian multi-unit manager in her area.

Her experience is not limited to making coffee and donuts, however. This woman was a former business analyst at Ernst & Young. She currently operates two Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants and was hoping to expand.

However, she alleges that Dunkin’ Donuts forced her to operate her two stores 24 hours a day, even though her locations are located in high crime areas, posing a serious threat to her personal safety. She also claimed that she did not make enough money in the evening and early morning hours to justify the expense of hiring employees to work around the clock.

Despite these difficulties, the franchisee also hoped to open a third franchise. However, management at Dunkin’ Donuts denied her proposal citing the lack of the possibility of a drive-thru window. However, she believes she was discriminated against because Dunkin’ Donuts then allowed a male franchisee to open a store in the same location without a drive-thru window.

Now it will be left for a court to decide whether Dunkin’ Donuts is violating its contract with this franchisee, or whether it is violating discrimination laws by its actions against her.

Source: New York Post, “Suit: Dunkin’ did me wrong,” Mark DeCambre, May 25, 2012