A Massachusetts Appeals Court panel reinstated a portion of a customer’s claims to proceed against a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise, finding the corporate defendants could be held vicariously liable for an employee’s use of a racial epithet following a dispute over a delayed food order.

The plaintiff, Gary Pettiford, sued Worcester Donuts, doing business as Dunkin’ Donuts at Yankee Gas Station, among other corporate entities and officers, after he was called the racial slur from an employee who he claims intentionally delayed making his food because he is a Black man.