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In-N-Out discrimination suit charges burger chain won't hire blacks

In-N-Out discrimination suit: The California-based fast-food restaurant chain denies that the discrimination suit has merit. Two black men say they weren't hired at In-N-Out because of race and age.

By StaffAssociated Press / September 7, 2012

A customer receives an order from the drive-through at In-N-Out Burger in Baldwin Park, Calif. The popular fast-food restaurant chain is being suited for alleged hiring discrimination against blacks and people over the age of 40.

(AP Photo/Adam Lau/File)

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Oakland, Calif.

A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of two black men in Oakland, Calif., claims In-N-Out Burger didn't hire them because of their race and age.

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The suit filed Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court asks a judge to order the restaurant chain to end discriminatory practices and to provide back pay and other monetary relief to those who have been unlawfully denied employment.

The suit claims both men were qualified for jobs at In-N-Out but weren't hired because they are black and also over the age of 40.

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The restaurant chain has 210 restaurants in California, and the suit claims that "very few" of the employees are black or over the age of 40.

The chain has a total of 275 restuarants in California, Texas, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out Burger's vice president and general counsel, denied the allegations in the lawsuit. “In-N-Out Burger does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, race or age in our hiring policies or practices.”

Wensinger said, “We hire from our local communities and our restaurants reflect the demographics of that community. The company will aggressively defend itself against these baseless and irresponsible allegations.”

Founded in 1948 in Baldwin, Calif., the family-owned business built up a loyal following in California, before expanding outside the state for the first time in 1992. Reflecting the Snyder family Christian beliefs, the In-N-Out restaurants have discrete Bible quotes on their wrappings, cups, and containers. For example, the milkshake cups have the quote: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding," from Proverbs.

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