A Berkeley law firm filed a class action lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday alleging that In-N-Out Burger discriminates on the basis of race, color and age.
This cases raises a wider issue than the burger battle:
- does a tight job market boost age, sex and/or race discrimination?
- or do unsuccessful applicants blame discrimination for being passed over?
The plaintiffs in the In-N-Out case are two, 40-plus black men from Oakland.
They applied for burger-flipping jobs in Oakland and San Francisco but weren't hired -- allegedly because the chain "recruits, hires and maintains a work force that is predominantly under the age of 40 and/or non-African-American," according to the lawsuit.
Steve Tidrick, the attorney for the plaintiffs, seeks back pay as well as compensatory damages and punitive damages.
In-N-Out Burger vice president and general counsel Arnie Wensinger said: "We hire from our local communities and our restaurants reflect the demographics of that community. The company will aggressively defend itself against these baseless and irresponsible allegations."
The Irvine-based chain has 210 restaurants in California.
The courts will decide this case.
But we can ask: in a tight job market, when employers can pick and choose, do age, sex and race discrimination tend to rise, or are there just more sour grapes from unsuccessful applicants?
Leave a comment and vote in our poll.
Bay City News contributed to this report.