Dunkin' Brands Sued for Discrimination

A lawsuit filed in New Jersey claims the brand pushes African-American franchise owners into poorer, less-profitable areas

Former minority franchisees have filed a lawsuit against Dunkin' Brands, claiming the company discriminates against minority owners.

The lawsuit claims that Dunkin' in particular pushes African-Americans into buying in poorer areas, the New York Post reports. Dunkin' Brands, which owns Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, has some 7,000 franchises around the country, but only 50 are owned by African-Americans.

Of those 50, the lawsuit claims, most of them are located in "economically less advantageous areas." None of them operate in Connecticut, New Jersey, or Rhode Island.

Plaintiff stories includes a couple who were allegedly "steered" to oeprate a store in Baltimore and Washington, even though they lived in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. The brand allegedly made "false representations regarding the unavailability" of other locations. Ultimately, the couple had to file for bankruptcy in 2007, claiming "Dunkin’ officials intentionally misled them with overly rosy projections about weekly sales at their Maryland locations."

Dunkin' representatives were unavailable for comment.