Dunkin' Facing $5 Million Discrimination Lawsuit For Charging Extra For Non-Dairy Milk
On 29th January 2024
Dunkin' is currently embroiled in a $5 million lawsuit, centered around allegations that the company charges more for non-dairy milk options in their drinks.
Customers who choose alternatives like oat, soy, or almond milk over traditional cow's milk at Dunkin' reportedly face up to $2 in additional charges for these non-dairy substitutes.
The lawsuit against Dunkin' is arguing that the extra charges for non-dairy options are a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This stems from the fact that while some customers may choose non-dairy milk out of preference, others are compelled to avoid dairy due to allergies or lactose intolerance, making it a necessity rather than a choice.
The main issue of the lawsuit is not about the choice between dairy and non-dairy options based on taste or preference.
Instead, it challenges the idea that charging extra is unfair and discriminatory to those who are medically required to choose non-dairy alternatives.
This legal action was initiated last month in the US District Court for the Northern District of California and represents the interests of 10 Dunkin' customers who feel wronged by this pricing policy.
Dunkin' has been sued for $5 million.
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The plaintiffs in this case are customers who, between 2018 and 2023, purchased beverages at Dunkin' containing non-dairy milk alternatives.
They claim they were charged an additional fee for selecting either plant-based or lactose-free milk.
The lawsuit includes claims from customers in various states including California, New York, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Hawaii.
The lawsuit details the plaintiffs' medical necessity to avoid dairy in their drinks.
It mentions that the extra charges for non-dairy options at Dunkin' varied, ranging from 50 cents to as much as $2.15, depending on the date and location of the purchase.
The lawsuit seeks to recover damages amounting to no less than $5 million and the plaintiffs are also demanding a jury trial.
Dunkin' has acknowledged the lawsuit with a filed waiver and has been given a deadline of March 4 to formally respond to the claims.
The suit alleges that charging extra for non dairy options is discriminatory.
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The suit said: "Dunkin will modify its regular beverage offerings to remove sugar or use sugar-free sweeteners at no additional charge for those persons with diabetes or who need to control weight," the lawsuit states.
"However, they only accommodate those with lactose intolerance or allergies to milk by imposing a surcharge."
The plaintiffs argue that "There is no expertise or additional work required of Dunkin employees that would substitute whole milk or fat-free milk in place of 2 percent regular milk, or who would make caffeine-free or sugar-free beverages, to also be able to substitute Non-Dairy Alternatives such as soy, almond, coconut, oat, or other lactose-free 'milk' in place of 2 percent regular milk."