The lawsuit targets the compensation policy of the Orlando-based Darden restaurants
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Olive Garden’s parent company is being sued by a group seeking higher guaranteed wages for restaurant workers.
One Fair Wage filed the lawsuit against Darden Restaurants in Orlando on Thursday.
Darden has more than 167,000 hourly workers in the US and Canada.
In addition to Olive Garden, Darden Restaurants owns the Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddars Scratch Kitchen, the Yard House and The Capital Grille.
According to the lawsuit, Darden has a policy of tipping workers who earn as little as $ 2.13 an hour in states where minimum wage practices are allowed.
Then tips are added to their wages to ensure employees earn a minimum wage. Darden must make up the difference if the combined wages and tips are not the state or federal minimum.
A Fair Wage said politics forced workers to accept various forms of harassment and discrimination, knowing if they complain they could get lower tips.
70 percent of tipped workers are women, and restaurant workers report higher levels of sexual harassment than any other occupation, according to the group.
In a statement, the company said the dispute with wage laws wasn’t Darden himself.
According to Darden Restaurants, workers who tip can make an average of $ 20 an hour. The company recently raised its minimum wage to better compete for scarce labor in the wake of the pandemic.