Vernon server suing Denny's for being laid off after 25 years of service - InfoNews

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Vernon server suing Denny's for being laid off after 25 years of service

September 26, 2020 - 2:20 PM

After 25 years of working for minimum wage as a server at Denny's, a Vernon senior is suing the restaurant alleging they laid her off without reasonable notice or pay following the COVID-19 shutdown.

Vernon resident Leann MacMillian filed in the B.C. Provincial Court Sept. 23, arguing the company terminated her employment without reasonable notice, payment in lieu or just cause.

In the Notice of Claim, MacMillian argues for $35,000 in damages for wrongful dismissal.

"At all times, Ms. MacMillian was a hard-working, loyal and dedicated employee who performed her duties in a professional manner and to the best of her abilities," reads the notice of claim.

The court documents say she earned a minimum wage of $13.95 an hour and made $240 a week in tips.

According to the court documents, she started working at Denny's restaurant in 1995 and worked approximately 30-hours a week. In March this year, she agreed to a temporary layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then in July, Denny's advised MacMillian that it would be ending her employment effective Sept. 21, and paying her eight weeks’ statutory severance pay.

"The defendant did not have any legal basis at common law to end her employment without reasonable notice or pay in lieu," reads the notice of claim.

It's not clear why Denny's would only compensate MacMillian with eight weeks statutory severance pay when the B.C. government appears to mandate an employee should receive one-week severance pay for every year they work at a company.

"The termination of Ms. MacMillian’s employment without adequate notice and without just cause constitutes a breach of contract by the defendant and a wrongful dismissal of Ms. MacMillian," reads the notice of claim. "Given that the Defendant did not have just cause to terminate Ms. MacMillian’s employment, Ms. MacMillian pleads that she is entitled to notice of termination, or pay in lieu thereof, in accordance with the common law."

The court document says the 60-year-old was never given an employment contract or any other agreement that stipulated her entitlements upon termination of her employment.

MacMillian claims she is entitled to notice of 24 months, based on the fact she is 60-years-old and worked at Denny's for 25 years.

"As a consequence of the wrongful dismissal of her employment, Ms. MacMillian is entitled to special damages for her out of pocket expenses incurred in attempting to mitigate her losses and obtain alternate, comparable employment, the full particulars of which will be provided prior to trial," reads the court documents.

The documents add that while MacMillian had been diligent in trying to find employment similar to what she had, she has not been successful yet.

Denny's has yet to file a response to the allegations, which have not been proven in court.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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