August 21, 2012 / 8:07 PM / 5 years ago

Dunkin' accused of racial bias by ex-franchise owners

Aug 21 (Reuters) - Shares of Dunkin' Brands Group Inc
 fell as much as 5  percent a day after three former
franchisees filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing the
doughnut and coffee seller of "systematic racial discrimination"
against African Americans and Asian Indian women.
    Plaintiffs Amy Pretto and Reggie Pretto, who are African
American, filed suit in New Jersey Superior Court Monday,
claiming they were "steered" by Dunkin away from their home in
the New York/New Jersey area to open stores in less economically
favorable areas in Maryland, where stores ultimately failed
nancially.
    The other plaintiff, an Indian-American named Priti Shetty,
faced harassment by Dunkin's operations managers because of her
gender and was prevented from opening a third store in
Stockholm, New Jersey, the complaint said.
    The suit seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages,
and asks a judge to stop Dunkin' Donuts from discriminating
against African Americans and other minority franchise owners
and to put in place incentives for minority franchisees.
 
    "While we cannot comment on pending litigation, our
franchisee diversity and our franchisee relationships are a
source of pride for us and a strength within our system,"
Dunkin' spokesperson Michelle King wrote in an email to Reuters.
   Shares of the Canton, Massachusetts-based company, which also
owns the Baskin-Robbins ice cream brand, ended regular trading
down 2.6 percent at $29.54, after falling as low as $28.71.

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