Class Action lawsuit filed against In-N-Out Burgers earlier this month alleges that the popular burger chain maintains hiring practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, and/or age of the applicants. Specifically, the complaint charges that the restaurant chain “systematically” denies employment opportunities to African-Americans and/or individuals over the age of forty (40) in the hiring of store associates and cleanup associates.
The allegations against In-N-Out are serious and potentially devastating to the reputation of the company. Depending on the size of the class involved in the lawsuit, monetary damages against the company may also be significant.
These allegations, if true, are especially disappointing because In-N-Out’s business practices have been noted in the past to be generally favorable to its employees. Indeed, the company is reportedly one of the few fast food chains in the United States to pay its employees significantly more than state and federally mandated minimum wage requirements – starting at $10 per hour in California, as of January 2008.
Of course, under California law, discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability or medical condition, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age (40 or older), and pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions violate both employment and civil rights laws.