Darden Restaurants accused of underpaying waiters

October 4, 2012 11:33 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The food industry has had plenty of cases to deal with in recent months, as the pink slime lawsuit illustrates that food manufacturers will not stand back when being criticized. Some other problems have been observed with restaurant management and employment-related objections. In Arizona, a Phoenix business lawyer can help food providers with dispute resolution tactics when it comes to employee-employer issues.

The Commercial Appeal, a Tennessee-based publication, reported that a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court against Darden Restaurants Inc. at the beginning of September. The suit centers on the allegation that the company violated federal laws by not paying the legal amount of wages to waiters at Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and other restaurants that operate under Darden.

The suit seeks the compensation and back pay of thousands of current and past employees of the restaurants. Since the company runs more than 2,000 restaurants, it employs as many as 180,000 workers.

"The ways in which Darden's current employment practices have created liabilities for the company with regard to workers, consumers, and investors … These practices threaten not only the public health, but also threaten to damage the reputation of their strongest brands, impacting shareholders both large and small," the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United stated in a report on September 18.

Because waiters are considered "tipped employees," they are entitled to only $2.13 per hour provided that they make $30 in tips within a given month. If not, then the employer has a duty to make up the difference for these workers.

Restaurants or other food providers in Arizona that find themselves in the midst of an employment-related lawsuit should consider consulting Phoenix business attorneys who have experience in dispute resolution.

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