Dunkin’ Brands sued over alleged racial bias

A lawsuit filed in New Jersey state court Monday accuses Canton-based Dunkin’ Brands of “systemic racial discrimination” against minority franchisees by steering them to poorer neighborhoods while awarding more lucrative locations to white franchise owners.

Former franchise owners Reggie and Amy Pretto filed the suit in Superior Court in Middlesex County, alleging Dunkin’ Brands “steered” them to open stores in poor neighborhoods by falsely claiming that no opportunities were available elsewhere. The Prettos, an African-American couple from Montclair, NJ, also said Dunkin’ lied to them about how much money their stores would make, when in fact their stores in Maryland struggled, leading Reggie Pretty to file for bankruptcy in 2007.

“The Prettos are looking to get damages for the wrongs that were done to them by Dunkin’,” said Jerry Marks, the couple’s attorney. “But more important, they’re seeking corrective damages, so that Dunkin’ not only doesn’t do this in the future, but ensures that there’s equality of opportunity for all Americans, especially African-Americans and women, so that everyone has an opportunity to sell Dunkin’ products as well as consume them.”

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Dunkin said it was unable to comment because the matter is in litigation.

The story was first reported by the New York Post. Dunkin’ has been sued periodically over time by franchisees alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment.