Dunkin’ sued several franchisees in federal court this week, seeking to get them to stop running their restaurants after their agreements were terminated over failure to accurately determine their employees’ eligibility to work within the U.S.
The lawsuit, against operators of nine locations in Delaware and Pennsylvania, comes amid what seems to be a crackdown on franchisees employment verification practices.
The Canton, Mass.-based coffee and doughnut franchise have filed at least three lawsuits in federal court against numerous franchises in recent months, arguing in each case that the operators failed to vet workers’ employment eligibility properly.
The franchisees function higher than two-dozen restaurants, representing a significant uptick in terminations by a franchise system that had enjoyed generally good relationships between the franchisor and its operators in recent years.
A Dunkin’ Brands spokesman mentioned the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Each of the lawsuits is similar. They each mentioned that Dunkin’ reviewed employment verification documents and practices, found violations on the subject franchisee companies, terminated the operators’ franchise agreements, and then swiftly moved to remove the franchisees from the restaurants.
The company sued franchisees of five locations in Delaware in September 2018, for instance, alleging violations of employment legislation following the review. Dunkin’ in that lawsuit mentioned its study followed a “customer complaint.”
Dunkin’ also accuses the franchisees of holding accurate business records and providing misleading or inaccurate information to investigators.
The corporate said that it terminated the restaurants’ franchise agreements last week, based on the results of the investigation. It sued the franchisees four days later, saying that the franchisees continue to operate their stores.