According to a Miami lawsuit, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster, and other restaurants operated by Darden Restaurants violated federal labor laws by underpaying thousands of servers, reports the Miami Herald.
The lawsuit seeks potentially tens of millions of dollars in back pay and other compensation for past and current employees who worked from August 2009 to the present.
“Darden has a companywide pattern and practice of paying its employees below minimum wage and less than what the law requires,” the lead lawyer said. “We’re seeking not only to correct the wrongs that have occurred at Darden, but hopefully this will stimulate change across the country.”
There are similar lawsuits around the country, but the one filed in Florida is the first seeking to represent all Darden workers at its four major brands: Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Long Horn Steakhouse, and The Capital Grille.
Filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the lawsuit claims against Darden include:
• Servers showed up for shifts as scheduled but were not allowed to clock in until customers began arriving.
• Employees who worked beyond 40 hours a week were not paid 1.5 times their regular pay as required.
The Orlando-based company’s website said it has more than 2,000 restaurants in North America that employ about 180,000 people.