Culture

Dunkin’ Donuts Is Suing Franchise Owners In An Attack Against Undocumented Immigrants

If you think the Starbucks vs Dunkin’ Donuts game wasn’t already polarizing, America’s coffee choices just got politicized. Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising LLC filed a complaint in a Delaware federal court on June 24, alleging two of its franchise owners have violated federal immigration law and their stores should be shut down. This complaint was against Thomas Sheehan and Kenneth Larson, who run nine stores in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. It isn’t the first time Dunkin’ sued its own franchise owners for this reason.

Dunkin’ sent termination letters to 14 stores in New Jersey and Virginia and then filed a suit against them in April.

According to Dunkin’, it was a customer complaint that sparked this wave of suits.

Credit: dunkin / Instagram

It then began a ten month review period which found hundreds of employee records with incomplete, unverified or falsified I-9 forms. Those I-9 forms are what authorize a person to legally work in the United States. The company also uses an electronic system called “E-Verify.”

Dunkin’ started using E-Verify in 2006, when only government agencies were using the system.

Credit: dunkin / Instagram

Two years later, the company began investing in lobbying efforts for immigration reform. It even hired an outside firm to lobby on immigration in 2017. It filed 100 similar lawsuits in 2006 and 2007 alone. The suits filed in the last couple of months are primarily citing its franchise owners for not using E-Verify.

One Delaware franchise owner has countersued Dunkin’.

Credit: @TheRucasJohnson / Twitter

They’re claiming they were given no opportunity to “correct the violations” and suspect Dunkin’ is just trying to resell their stores for greater profit. Kind of like when your landlord stops caring about keeping you around so that they can hike up the rent.

Labor lawyers are saying that patrolling immigration status has never been a targeted issue in franchises.

Credit: @MercurialMiss / Twitter

Dunkin’ is leading the way in pushing immigrant supporters from wanted to run on Dunkin’. Of course, folks are starting to #BoycottDunkin.

Those who support making life harder for undocumented folks are pledging allegiance to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Credit: @JamesonCal / Twitter

Some business analysts suspect Dunkin’ is simply making a play at reselling its franchises for profit by pushing owners out. Others imagine Dunkin’ is just trying to protect its own business by avoiding the potential for labor violation fines. Pesky customer complaints.

Last year, new CEO Dave Hoffman said hiring workers on work-study visas was “critical” for the company.

Credit: @dunkindonuts / Twitter

So the move could mean that it’s trying to show the federal government that it’s a lawful employer, in hopes that it would make receiving more legal work visas probable. That was said around the time that 7/11 avoided its own labor violation fines by assisting ICE with raiding nearly 100 stores. 7/11 stated that the franchises, not the company, were responsible for following labor laws.

Regardless, the move has acted as a dog whistle on Twitter.

Credit: @NookAppolloni / Twitter

Sorry, @NookAppolloni, the move would be destroying hundreds of lives in the Northeast ????.  The lawsuit targets stores in that area so the wish for California is kind of uneducated. With the inhumane conditions in detention centers and the increased privatization of said centers, it’s likely the most dangerous time to be an undocumented worker in the United States. 

Hypocrisy looks like knowing that Trump’s businesses employ undocumented workers without fear of consequence.

Credit: @JeffFromNH / Twitter

Being undocumented is not a gift or cheating the system. It is a burden to be someone who is more financially and socially vulnerable. Living undocumented means that, while on a quest for a better life, you have to forfeit basic human rights and live in fear that your employer might do something like this.

So, to the Latinx couple that found a screw in their Dunkin’ bagel this week, take it as a metaphor for what they are doing to undocumented people.

Credit: @Chris27Garcia / Twitter

Whatever the business motive is, the move is complicit in the inhumane detention of immigrants. A Jewish Holocaust historian coined the term, “the banality of evil,” which insinuates that evil doesn’t exist in a single mind alone. In order for it to be carried out, it must become pedestrian, seeped into a fabric of society until it is accepted.

READ: New Report Shows ICE Using DMV Data To Track People As Undocumented People Get Drivers Licenses

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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

Fierce

A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

Credit: Screenshot via CBS/WBZ

A former female firefighter was just given a settlement of $3.2 million by the city of Boston for what she characterized as a culture of sexual harassment, shaming, and silencing. Nathalie Fontanez says she was retaliated against by the Boston Fire Department for reporting a sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a colleague.

In 2018, Fontanez says she was sexually assaulted by fellow firefighter David Sanchez.

It all began when Fontanez joined the Boston Fire Department in 2011. The department was looking to hire fluent Spanish speakers, and Fontanez considered the opportunity a “golden ticket”. It was an opportunity for her, a single mom, to provide for her daughter without the assistance of welfare. And, she could prove to her daughter that women can do anything.

But Fontanez’s dream soon turned into a nightmare. After joining the department, she faced an inordinate amount of hazing and harassment because she was a woman and a Latina.

“I’m not a veteran. I’m not a man. I’m a Latin woman. If there was a totem pole, I was at the very bottom,” she explained. “I felt that I had to tolerate anything that came my way, because I was lucky to be there,” she said.

Per Fontanez, the incidents escalated until the day in question when she was assaulted at the firehouse by Sanchez.

After reporting the incident to her superiors, she says that her colleagues turned on her.

In a recent press conference, Fontanez explained the experience in more detail. “Incidents began to escalate and I was then shamed and labeled a trouble-maker,” she said. “The guys that I once relied on for my life’s safety now turned against me.”

While Sanchez was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to two years of probation, Fontanez says that she was harassed and isolated by her station mates. According to her, the retaliation also included being denied a promotion and being ignored at social events.

“I was often reminded by some of my colleagues that I had taken a job from a man who could have been providing for his family, even though I was a single parent providing for mine,” she said.

Last month, the city settled with Fontanez for $3.2 million. But Fontanez says it’s not about the money–it’s about changing the toxic culture of firehouses. 

“I’m breaking my silence because I believe that women firefighters deserve equal treatment in the Boston Fire Department,” Fontanez said during the news conference. “However, at this point that is the dream, but not the reality, for many women firefighters. The department is overdue for change, and the time for change is now.”

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New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Entertainment

New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Photo via Getty Images

It looks like scandal just can’t stay away from A-Rod. The former Yankees all-star is now facing controversy based off of the claims filed in a lawsuit by his former brother-in-law, Constantine Scurtis.

The lawsuit alleges that Rodriguez is a pathological liar and cheater who embezzled millions of dollars through shady real estate deals.

The lawsuit states: “Defendant Alex Rodriguez, a former Yankees baseball player, is a serial cheater and liar. After cheating on his wife, Cynthia, and lying about his affairs, Alex Rodriguez then lied to and cheated his brother in law in their real estate partnership.”

According to Scurtis, he and Rodriguez formed a real estate partnership around the beginning of A-Rod’s marriage to his sister, Cynthia. The initial deal was that the duo would leverage A-Rod’s star power to attract clients and sales and would get 95% of the profits. Scurtis would get the rest of the profits, including acquisition fees when applicable.

Scurtis says that A-Rod sold their joint company without his consent and without giving him any of the profits.

But per Scurtis, in 2008, around the time that Rodriguez’s marriage to his first wife dissolved, A-Rod abruptly booted Scurtis from the partnership. Scurtis alleges that, up until that point, Rodriguez had previously lied to him and assured him that nothing would change in their business dealings.

The lawsuit also alleges that Rodriguez committed various acts of fraud, including concocting a “scheme to profit off of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike.”

Hurricane Ike was a natural disaster that resulted in at least 195 deaths and billions of dollars in damage in 2008.

Scurtis says that Rodriguez committed insurance fraud, faking accounting records to claim that his properties sustained significantly more damage than they actually did.

The lawsuit alleges that A-Rod bribed an official who caught wind of the scheme to keep quiet.

“Through their racketeering,” the lawsuit said, “Rodriguez and his co-conspirators have caused Scurtis many millions of dollars in damages.”

Scurtis’s lawyer says that A-Rod will “face a jury on August 2, 2021, to answer claims that he and his co-conspirators engaged in a pattern of racketeering and embezzlement.”

“Scurtis never suspected that the tussle over the day-to-day operation of the business arising from his sister’s divorce would be followed by a systematic and fraudulent effort to eliminate Scurtis’s equity in the venture and strip him of the future financial rewards to which he was rightfully entitled,” says the lawsuit.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that Scurtis has brought a lawsuit against his ex-brother-in-law.

There seems to be no love lost between these two former business partners. Over the years, Scurtis has filed a multiple lawsuits against the Dominican ex-MVP, including a $100 million one in 2015 that included many of the same allegations. It is unclear how that situation ended, but judging by the newest lawsuit, Scurtis’s previous ones have not been successful.

As for A-Rod, he is hitting back at Scurtis’s claims, and filed a countersuit denying the accusations. We guess we’ll just keep our eyes peeled to see how this all turns out.

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