UnderCover Waitress: Darden Workers File Lawsuit

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Darden Workers File Lawsuit

Huzzah! for Darden restaurant workers for standing up for themselves!

Darden Restaurants is being sued in federal court for violating federal labor laws. Darden is allegedly in violation of the Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act. Among the allegations:

* Workers required to show up at a certain time, labor in the restaurant, but wait to clock in until their first table arrived. That means they were required to work off the clock, which is illegal.

* Workers were required to clock out and continue to labor and work in the restaurant after doing so. See above.

* Workers claim they spent more than twenty percent of their working time performing non-tipped work, but received only tipped employee wages. Employers are required to pay full minimum wage for time working non-tipped labor if that time equals more than twenty percent of the shift.

* Workers who worked more than 40 hours in a week were denied overtime pay. Workers are guaranteed overtime pay by the federal government.

Darden would be well-advised to take this seriously. Applebee's was sued by servers for tip violations. The servers won, Applebee's appealed and the Supreme Court denied their appeal and upheld the decision in favor of the food servers. Food servers have rights to be paid fairly.

So, I wonder how Darden got included in Fortune's 100 Best Places to Work in 2012? Supposedly, the workplaces are chosen based upon employee surveys. I can't imagine laborers being treated in ways described above giving positive answers to such a questionnaire. Perhaps it wasn't the laborers, but rather the managers and corporate employees who took the survey. The laborers were silent.

Today, the laborers are not silent. 

11 comments :

  1. My new BC store was the center of an identical lawsuit a few years back. They paid hush money to the staff so it would get swept under the rug and forgotten. Guess that worked really well, huh? Schmarden needs to get a handle on this sort of bullshit instead of paying people to pretend it didn't happen.

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    1. I can assure you that some of these people involved in these suits DO NOT want $ . Instead they want a public apology and a law in place to guard against this sort of corporate slavery ever hapening again. Let's really treat one another " Like Family"

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    2. @F*uck: (Can I call you F*uck?) ;) I was scratching my head for a minute thinking "British Columbia?!?" ROFL.

      @anon: there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting money from these suits. As a matter of fact, if Darden Schmarden hadn't cheated them out of money to save money for Darden, the suit in the blog post wouldn't be happening. Darden OWES these people money for lost wages and overtime pay.

      there is also nothing wrong with adding punitive damages (and other relevant damages, if they exist.) Darden managers and corporate knew that it was illegal to make people work off of the clock. They should be punished.

      If somebody broke into your apartment and stole from you, would you want nothing more than a public apology?

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    3. Lol- I'm on the one of the suits and for most of us what we really want is the law to change and explicitly state what these turds are doing is wrong. Yes, we are owed money, no argument there- but the public should get to hear from their own filthy mouth how darden fu ked over 1,000 of people to line the pockets of investment firms and CEO s . They should be forced to outline the scheme publicly, and hopefully fined out the wazoo ( funding the dol to go after more of these type of violations). That's a wet dream- I know.

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    4. "What we want is the law to change" BINGO!!! I want that, as well. It would solve some of the problems we are in. I want to live and work in a country that respects labor. There will always be those who break the law, but the least we can do is make it as difficult on the criminals as possible. Darden has had it too easy and gotten away with too much, if the countless emails and comments I have read are to be believed. And I believe them.

      And, yes, I am going to continue to plug the politics every chance I get until November 12 has come and gone: if you want the law to change, you need to vote in representatives that support labor. Oh, and when your representatives support labor in China and India, but you live in the US, um, that's bad... ;)

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  2. I read somewhere that Darden actually nominated themselves for the best 100 places thing- and they were the only restaurant...

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    1. I bet the surveys used for that were taken by the folks who work at the Orlando corporate offices. Pretty nice place, gym with amenities , child care, solar energy panels (ya gotta be green too), lunch breaks, sick days, paid vacation not too shabby! I get none of the above mentioned benefits, if I'm lucky- I get a mistake order of chicken tenders,lol!

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    2. That would be hilarious if it weren't true! ROFL.

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  3. While I have not joined the lawsuit in fear of retaliation from my managers, I too waited once for my table to be sat before clocking in. My manager had been reemed out by her DM for high labors cost,and she pleaded with me to do this. Because I like her, I agreed to do it that time only, because at my age & experience (over 40) I knew that it was illegal. However, the young servers would accomodate the request numerous times, as they did not know any better. I did tell those servers that it was illegal, but they did it anyways.

    I also forewarn the younger ones not to do ANYTHING until clocking in: no getting ice, refilling the glass rack, making coffee etc, for if you get hurt, you won't have a leg to stand on regarding workmen's comp.

    My store wants us in 15min ahead of scheduled time.... why should we sit there on our own time? And LobsterTalk should be on company time... bringing us up to speed about the restaurant doings should be part of the 5 minute leeway that allows you to clock in before your scheduled time.

    If they do this with everyone, imagine how much $$ they save in labor costs! This is stealing from the staff!

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    1. I completely agree that this stealing. White collar crime, and no better than breaking into your home and stealing. Theft is theft, and should be punished accordingly.

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  4. Darden... Proud Purveyors of Slave Labour Since Its Founding.

    Sheesh!

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