CHICAGO (CN) – Dunkin Donuts refuses to renew two franchises of an Arab Muslim because he will not sell sandwiches that contain pork, but it has done so for Kosher franchisees who refuse to sell it, Walid Elkhatib says in a $5 million discrimination claim in Federal Court. Elkhatib, a franchisee since 1979, says he will lose his business on April 14 unless Dunkin Donuts is enjoined.
Elkhatib says he never sold pork at his restaurant, and Dunkin Donuts never pressed him to do so until an Aug. 14, 2002 letter from the corporation’s legal counsel demanded it, and threatened: “your failure to sell these breakfast sandwiches means that ADQSR will not consider you as a candidate for renewal at either of the above referenced locations, and therefore, you should plan accordingly.”
Elkhatib sued and on Nov. 12, 2004, the U.S. District Court granted summary judgment to Dunkin Donuts. The 7th Circuit reversed on July 3, 2007, “and found Plaintiff had made a prima facie case of racial discrimination, in that he had shown that the Defendants had not enforced the requirements to sell pork products against other franchisees and had renewed their franchise agreements. … One such franchise in the Chicago area is actually Kosher in observance of the Jewish religion, and will not sell pork products,” this complaint states.
Elkhatib adds: “It has never been necessary for the success of Dunkin Donuts franchises, such as Plaintiff, to sell pork products, as show by Plaintiff’s successful operation of his Dunkin Donuts franchises since 1979.”
Elkhatib seeks judgment that Dunkin Donuts has discriminated against him because of his race, religion and national origin, $5 million, and an injunction. He is represented by Robert Habib.