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Denny's ordered to pay $1.3M to foreign workers

Out-of-court settlement is first case of its kind in British Columbia

In the first case of its kind in British Columbia, Northland Properties Corp. has reached an out-of-court settlement to pay more than $1.3 million to temporary foreign workers employed at Northland's 37 Denny's-branded B.C. restaurants.

The Vancouver-based company will also pay $80,000 to charity, Glavin Gordon Clements partner Charles Gordon told Business in Vancouver on March 5.

Gordon worked with Kestral Workplace Legal Counsel LLP partner Chris Foy on a class-action lawsuit. They represented foreign workers who they said:

• paid an agency to get work in Canada;

• paid airfare to come to Canada;

• were given fewer than the 40 hours a week promised to them in a contract; and

• were not paid appropriately for overtime.

Paying an agency to get work in Canada is illegal. Employers who sponsor temporary foreign workers are required to pay airfare, uphold contract terms for hours and pay overtime.

The litigants appeared in court on March 1 to have Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick approve the settlement.

Northland, which also owns Sandman Hotels, Moxie's Restaurants and Northland Asset Management, is number 22 in the list of B.C.'s largest companies with $657 million in revenue in 2011.

Company CEO Tom Gaglardi separately owns the Dallas Stars and is a part owner of the Western Hockey League's Kamloops Blazers.