Jim Boyle Oct. 21, 2014, 3:24pm


Two current and one former employee of a Philadelphia Dunkin Donuts restaurant say

that their manager shows favoritism toward workers from Indian/Bangladeshi descent at the expense of other staff members, according to a discrimination suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

James Bennett, Jr., 23, Conan McDaniel, 21, and Brittany Wilson, claim that the owner of Columbus Boulevard Donuts, the controlling company for the Dunkin Donuts located on Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia, has decreased their hours, denied overtime and tasked non-Indian employees with the restaurant's worst jobs. The three plaintiffs, all African-American, seek damages in excess of $150,000 for the alleged discriminatory behavior, saying it violates their civil rights.

According to the complaint, Bhavu LNU issued a warning against Bennett in May 2013 for being five minutes late for his shift, a disciplinary action that has not been given to co-workers of Indian/Bangladeshi nationality. Bennett's shift has also been reduced by one hour per shift, while the Bangladeshi employees experienced an increase in hours, the claim says.

McDaniel claims that Bhavu assigns him the most undesirable jobs based on his race, ordering him to perform such tasks as cleaning behind the dumpster, washing dishes and cleaning the bathrooms, while the Bangladeshi employees do not have to perform those duties.

In May 2013, McDaniel says, Bhavu ordered him not to interact with or speak to customers. McDaniel's shifts have also been reduced, the complaint says, down by three hours per week without an explanation.

Wilson claims that her requests for overtime were denied by Bhavu, who told her that there were no overtime hours to give, yet her Bangladeshi co-workers received extra time. She claims that her Sept. 1, 2014, termination was based on her race and not her job performance.

All three plaintiffs say that the civil rights violations have cost them potential earnings in salary and overtime pay. They seek compensatory and punitive damages, including loss of wages and benefits.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Sidney L. Gold & Associates.

The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-05912-CMR.

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