In-N-Out Burger Class Action Alleges Racial Discrimination in California


Irvine, CA While most complaints under California labor law pertain to prevailing wage law, denial of overtime or worker's compensation benefits, there remains the dark cloud of discrimination. The latter forms the basis of a class-action lawsuit filed recently against the In-N-Out Burger food chain, alleging discrimination due to age and ethnicity. The defendant, headquartered in Irvine, denies the accusations.

According to the Contra Costa Times (9/7/12), plaintiffs Alonzo Brown and Carlos Dubose applied for jobs with the chain, at various locations and for various jobs. Even though the firm was actively advertising for applicants, the plaintiffs allege in their California labor lawsuit they were repeatedly turned away. Both men are over 40 years of age, and both are African-American.

Arnie Wensinger, vice president and general counsel for the company, said in a statement the allegations in the lawsuit have no basis in fact. "In-N-Out Burger does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, race or age in our hiring policies or practices," Wensinger said. "We hire from our local communities and our restaurants reflect the demographics of that community."

Wensinger referenced the allegations as baseless and irresponsible.

Plaintiff Brown, according to the California labor lawsuit, applied for a store associate job in Oakland. Brown alleges he was told the company was hiring, but was denied a job two months later.

Dubose, as part of his California and labor law complaint, noted he applied for two jobs on two separate occasions at two locations: a cleanup associate position at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and a month later for an advertised position in Oakland. According to the lawsuit, Dubose was denied both positions.

The California labor employment lawsuit alleges that Dubose was denied a job at the Oakland location in spite of the fact a manager at the restaurant told him at the time he applied the company planned to hire five individuals within two months.

The plaintiffs allege age and racial discrimination, noting they were both told the company was not hiring after all when the two were rejected for jobs, even though both men had been told at the point of application the company was, indeed hiring.

"These are not isolated examples of employment practices or individual decisions," the lawsuit states. "On the contrary, these incidents are representative of the Company's systematic discrimination against the Class and in favor of applicants who are under the age of forty and/or not African American."

California labor code has strict guidelines when it comes to areas such as California prevailing wage law, hours of work, meal and rest periods, and the correct computation of overtime. Discrimination against age, ethnicity and gender is also entrenched in California state labor laws.

The statement from In-N-Out Burger noted the company intends to "aggressively defend itself" against the allegations. It was noted in the statement that more than 23 percent of the workforce employed at the two identified locations, are African-American.

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  1. nyofacez
    October 25, 2012
    It's about-ime we start-akig it-o the man
  2. Espy Tascon
    October 5, 2012
    This has happened to my son also on 7 occasions with In-N-Out. He is not African American but young Cuban/Mexican being asked directly what was his ethnicity and if he was legal in the U.S. He was born a citizen, from both parents through Naturalization process. BTW there were no African American in most of the places he applied. I'm in support of the plaintiffs.....
  3. my name dorothy jones
    September 24, 2012
    This also happen to my sister bridget cobb who's also african american & over the age of 40.

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