In-N-Out Burger, an organization that is fond of threatening to sue everybody it conceivably can, is getting a double-double dose of its own medicine this week. The Oakland Tribune reports that a class-action lawsuit is being filed against the chain, alleging discriminatory hiring practices by spurning qualified potential employees over their race, nationality, and age. The suit was filed by two African-American men over age 40, who claim they had the right stuff to flip burgers at an Oakland area store but were rejected from getting jobs due to their race and age. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Steven Tidrick (whom you may remember from such lawsuits as the one accusing filmmaker Errol Morris of deceptive documentary-making), is now looking for others to join the suit, accusing the chain of consistently hiring and maintaining “a work force that is predominantly under the age of 40 and/or non-African-American.” Obviously, In-N-Out is not going down without a fight.
The lawsuit is pressing for back wages and damages for all those who feel the company’s alleged practices have kept them out of a job at In-N-Out. But the Irvine-based company promises it will “aggressively defend itself against these baseless and irresponsible allegations,” and you know they’re already lawyered up like a 20x20. In fact, the company’s vice-president also happens to be their general counsel, who states, “In-N-Out Burger does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, race or age in our hiring policies or practices.”
We’ve never really taken a head count or anything, but from our own vast experiences pigging out and chowing down at In-N-Outs around California, we can only observe that the staff generally appears racially and ethnically diverse but predominantly of the high-school and junior-college set. However, we have witnessed them doing torturous things to a Flying Dutchmen on more than a few occasions.