LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 2:  The exterior of a Denny's restaurant, located along the Las Vegas Strip, is viewed on March 2, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Millions of visitors from all all over the world flock to this desert city each year for the shows, the food, the gambling, and the sun. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
The Denny's Racism Scandal You May Not Be Aware Of
By Cynthia Anaya
Despite Denny's charitable affiliations over the years, many people still rightly remember the infamous civil rights lawsuits involving Denny's locations in California and Maryland. Those who do not remember the incident may wonder what led to two class-action lawsuits against the seemingly family-friendly diner.
In the early '90s, many discrimination allegations were made by thousands of customers at various California Denny's restaurants. These incidents included a case where Black teens were told to pay a cover charge when their white peers were not, and in the end, Denny’s made a $28 million settlement.
Around the same time, similar allegations were made in Maryland after Black secret service agents did not receive their food for nearly an hour, while their white colleagues were served promptly. Some of the agents recalled that white patrons who came in after them were served first, and they brought a lawsuit against the chain as well.
Denny's ended up paying a total of $54 million to settle all the lawsuits and implemented a racial-sensitivity program for all employees to prevent future incidents of racism. These efforts paid off, and in the early 2000s, the parent company of Denny’s earned the top spot in the "America's 50 Best Companies for Minorities" Fortune magazine survey.