Dunkin' Donuts Rep Allegedly Tells Franchisee She Isn't 'Servile Enough,' And She Sues

A Dunkin' Donuts franchisee has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the chain, alleging that parent company Dunkin' Brands is biased against "Asian-Indian American women of color," the New York Post reports.

Priti Shetty, a woman of Indian descent who owned two Dunkin' Donuts stores in New Jersey, claims a Dunkin' Brands representative, Wayne Miller, told her she wasn't "servile enough" as an Indian woman.

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He also forced her to keep her stores open 24 hours, despite her concerns about crime and the store's inability to generate adequate revenue during off-hours, according to her lawsuit, filed in a New Jersey state court last week.

According to the Post, Shetty (pictured at left) claims that while many women of Indian descent work at Dunkin', none manage multiple stores in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut or Rhode Island.

Shetty's lawyer, Jerry Marks of Marks & Klein LLP, told the newspaper that Dunkin' denied Shetty's attempts to open a third store, saying the location wasn't suitably situated for a drive-thru. Nonetheless, the suit claims, a male franchisee was later able to open a store at the same spot without a drive-thru window. Shetty told AOL Jobs that she sold her stores in 2010.

UPDATE: In statement emailed Wednesday to AOL Jobs, Dunkin' Group spokeswoman Karen Raskopf declined to comment on Shetty's case but said the company "works to have good relationships" with a "diverse base of franchisees." She said that the bulk of new Dunkin' Donut stores are opened by existing owners, "which we believe is a testimony to their satisfaction with that relationship."

A History Of Legal Wrangles

Shetty isn't the first Dunkin' franchisee to allege that the Canton, Mass.-based company discriminates against franchisees of Indian descent.

In 2007, Mahendra and Nita Patel, husband-and-wife operators of four Orange County, N.Y., Dunkin' outlets, counter-sued the chain after the company alleged that the couple violated franchise agreements, and labor and tax laws.

The Patels, first-generation Americans of Indian descent, alleged in their suit that the company unfairly terminates minority franchisees or forces them to sell their stores at less than fair market value to white, multi-unit operators, according to QSRMagazine.com.

Dunkin' has a lengthy history of legal wrangling with its owner-operators. BusinessWeek reported in 2009 that Dunkin' was involved in about 350 lawsuits with its franchisees, noting that the company has been accused of aggressively targeting shop owners in an effort to terminate franchise agreements and in the process collect hefty fees and penalties for alleged contract violations.

The company nonetheless has its sights set on expansion and plans to open more than 300 news stores in the Asia-Pacific region -- including India.

Earlier this month, Dunkin' opened a flagship store in New Delhi, the Indian capital. It's just the first of 80 to 100 planned stores under an agreement between Dunkin' and New Delhi-based Jubilant FoodWorks, which also operates Domino's Pizza outlets.

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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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That is a very unusual reason to sue. I wonder why she decided to even do something like that in the first place. I wonder why all this happened and how things went down too.
Jak Manson | http://www.headneck.com

May 06 2014 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone notice her F....g name? THIS is a PRITI SHETTY face!!! lom ) The headlines should be Priti Shetty did a Pritt Shetty job!))) Why don't you go back to India and serve your Priti SHETTY donas over there? WHOEVER MARRIED TO THAT PRITI SHETTY FACE probably have Priti Shetty life..0.)) I bet judge will laugh his as off on that case..

June 20 2012 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bitches Brew-70'

who is the Bastard to tell that woman what she can and cannot do......

June 07 2012 at 10:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisa Slack

She sold her stores in 2010 so why start crying now? And when anyone buys a franchise you run by the rules of the franchise ie... if dunkin donuts is open 24 hr then you have to open it. And what Servile means is that she wasn't co operating with them when they told her they had issues with how she ran the business. All franchises are like that . Using race is a quick way of getting paid. I wish these large companies would start fighting instead of settling. Everyone knows your going to settle so they file a suit and the attorneys that get paid the retainer prefer to pay its cheaper they say. All that mentality does is open us up to stupid law suites. I was involved in a suit and my attorney recommended that and I fired his sorry butt hired one with integrity and won and got all my fees paid Dunkin will drag it out until someone runs out of money or figures out that they can't get anything.

May 31 2012 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

that was "Priti Shetty" of them to do that to her.

May 30 2012 at 4:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A Dunkin' Donuts franchisee has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the chain, alleging that parent company Dunkin' Brands is biased against "Asian-Indian American women of color," the New York Post reports.
Just call it like it is, black people. This "of color" crap is crap.

May 30 2012 at 12:39 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Perhaps "not servile enough" was just the guy's way of trying to nicely say, " You're too damned rude."

May 29 2012 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is why I eat at Panera Bread. Great breads and great coffee. Fresh made coffee comes out at regular intervals.

May 29 2012 at 10:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

within a four mile radius I know of two Indian run dunkins and abot 8 miles away there is another
this is southeastern pa 25 miles north of philly

May 29 2012 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to albertbbruno's comment

there's more if you travel a bit south - especially in center city.

May 30 2012 at 3:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

most of DD in Chicagoland are Indian operated,
will be hard to prove discrimination,
all are open 24 hr,
they DO make the BEST coffee!

May 29 2012 at 9:23 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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