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 for the two men and others allegedly denied jobs for these causes.
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.