On July 1st, 2021, victims of corporate misconduct won a multi-million dollar settlement in a case that served as a reminder of the power of individuals to hold powerful corporations accountable for their actions. The case involved a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought against the major restaurant chain, Denny’s, which ultimately resulted in a $14 million settlement for the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit dated back to 2015 when a female server at a Denny’s restaurant in California filed a complaint against her supervisor for sexual harassment and retaliation. The supervisor allegedly made explicit sexual comments towards the server and touched her inappropriately. When the server reported the harassment to management, she was allegedly met with retaliation, including the loss of work hours and a hostile work environment.
The server’s complaint sparked a broader investigation into Denny’s practices which ultimately revealed a pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination within the chain. In 2018, a group of 21 women who worked at Denny’s restaurants filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that they had faced systemic sexual harassment and discrimination, including being subjected to unwanted touching and comments about their bodies.
The plaintiffs in the case came from diverse backgrounds and included both current and former Denny’s employees. They alleged that the company had created a hostile work environment in which women were routinely subjected to gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault. The lawsuit claimed that Denny’s had failed to adequately address complaints of harassment and had retaliated against employees who spoke out against it.
Following years of litigation, the plaintiffs in the case were finally awarded a $14 million settlement from Denny’s. While the financial compensation is undoubtedly significant, the real victory in this case is the message it sends to other corporations that may be engaging in similar practices. Victims of corporate misconduct and harassment can and will hold companies accountable for their actions, and those companies will pay a price.
The Denny’s case is not an isolated incident. Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace continue to be pervasive issues, with countless women and marginalized groups experiencing mistreatment and abuse on a daily basis. However, these cases serve as a reminder that collective action can lead to meaningful change. When individuals come together to demand accountability and justice, they have the power to hold even the most powerful corporations accountable.
Ultimately, the $14 million settlement in the Denny’s case serves as a beacon of hope for anyone who has been the victim of corporate misconduct. It is a clear and unequivocal message to companies and individuals alike that acts of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation will not be tolerated. Only through the persistent pursuit of justice and the upholding of legal protections can we create a world in which everyone can feel safe and respected in their workplaces.