Indian-American Woman Accuses Dunkin’ Donuts of Discrimination

(Image via Desi Talk)

A New Jersey Indian-American woman has sued the coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts, charging racial discrimination, reported News India Times. Priti Shetty and her husband owned two Dunkin’ stores at Wantage and Oak Ridge in NJ. Her trouble started when she filed an application with the franchise chain to open a third store and identified a location at Stockholm, NJ. The franchise chain rejected her application in 2007 on the grounds that the proposed location did not have a drive-through window facility.

In her court filing, a copy of which was made available to Desi Talk by her attorney Gerald Marks, Shetty claims Dunkin’ allowed another person to open a store at the same site soon after rejecting her application.

Shetty has accused the donut giant of discriminating against “Asian Indian-American women of color,” News India Times reported. The suit was filed May 11 at the Superior Court of New Jersey in Middlesex County.

Priti also says that she and her husband were forced to sell their two other stores in 2010 because of harassment by Dunkin’s representatives.

“Dunkin’s discriminatory decision not to let her (Shetty) resume operations caused her to sustain economic damages in that she now has to defend a suit commenced by her former landlord for unpaid rent for the empty store,” according to the complaint. “I wanted to do this (sue Dunkin’) even when I owned the stores because it was just impossible with the constant harassment from them (Dunkin’ Donuts) – like walking into my store, yelling at my employees, compelling me to be at the store even when my daughter was sick, making me keep the store open 24 hours even though it was an unsafe location,” Shetty told Desi Talk.

Shetty’s attorney, Gerald Marks, says Shetty has a case based on both state and federal law.

“There are two things going on. Under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination, or LAD, you cannot discriminate in appointments or in commerce. In addition, being an Asian American woman of color, Priti is protected under the U.S. Civil Rights Code.”

“They hounded her out of business because she was an Indian woman and wouldn’t let her get back in because she was an Indian woman,” Marks said.

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