Burger Battle: Suit Says In-N-Out Discriminates

Chain "aggressively defends" itself against "baseless and irresponsible" charges. Does a tight job market boost age, sex and race discrimination, or just promote complaints from unsuccessful applicants? Vote in our poll.


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:

  1. does a tight job market boost age, sex and/or race discrimination?
  2. 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.

Dalamar September 07, 2012 at 02:57 PM
ID with a vote- Generalities and assumptions are the matriarchs of the biggest screw ups. To say no employers are "picky" at all is naive and/or is tacit support for that activity. To say it does happen is far more realistic. Each accusation, however, should be reviewed on a case by case basis. Lawyers (typically) don't do charity work, so if they feel there is merit to a case yes they will file a claim, otherwise they will not.
Tom Abate September 07, 2012 at 09:11 PM
A spokesperson for In'N'Out sent this additional comment: "The allegations in the lawsuit have no basis in fact. The two stores where the two plaintiffs apparently applied for jobs have a workforce that is more than 23% African American."
Dalamar September 09, 2012 at 12:47 PM
There is only ONE REASON i haven't flagged the comment at 3:26am from Poison. It is ONLY to show the thought processes of those who are so closed minded that they only show the possibilty of some credibility to the lawsuit claim.
Tom Abate September 09, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Dalamar: I deleted the comment.
Dalamar September 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Well Done.


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