Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Denny's responds to class action suit

Northland Properties, the company that operates over 36 Denny's Restaurants in western Canada, has reportedly improved some of its previously problematic treatment of over 50 temporary workers from the Philippines since they filed a class action suit against the firm.

According to Jane Ordinario, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group Migrante, Denny's began providing the full time work the workers were promised and paying properly for overtime, at least temporarily, after court documents were filed this January. As reported in The Tyee then, the workers, brought into Canada under the controversial Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

Alleged in the legal documents was that they had been required, improperly, to pay their own air fare from the Philippines as well as a placement fee of over $6,000.00 each to recruiting firms in the Philippines. Further, they said, they were not being provided regularly with the full time work they had been promised, and were sometimes required to work overtime without appropriate overtime pay. (None of these allegations have been tested in court yet, and Denny's management categorically denied them in an interview with The Tyee in January.)

In 2009, Canada admitted 178, 640 temporary foreign workers, with 14,484 of these admissions from the Philippines, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Over 44,000 foreign workers were admitted to BC that year.

"Right after the suit was filed, the workers started getting full 40 hour work weeks," Ordinario told the Tyee on March 18. "But that didn't last, and no one has been repaid for what they spent to come to BC, or for any of the back overtime payments," she said.

"What Denny's did after the suit was filed acknowledges that they've done something wrong," Ordinario said. She noted that her organization was holding a public forum on the Denny's case and challenges facing temporary foreign workers on the evening of March 23 at the Sheraton Wall Centre in downtown Vancouver, and invited interested Tyee readers to attend.

While declining to comment on the specifics of what Ordinario told The Tyee, or of the claims made in the class action suit, Bobby Naicker, Denny's president, did make these comments via email on March 18.

". . . I can tell you that we're maintaining our position of treating all of our employees with fairness and equality. We pride ourselves on our employment standards, and we have many happy, long-term Foreign Workers employed at Denny's restaurants."

Tom Sandborn covers labour and health policy beats for The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus