Close To 20,000 Workers Join Lawsuit Claiming Darden Restaurants Underpaid Employees

There’s a storm a’brewin’ and it’s made of almost 20,000 former and current Darden Restaurants employees who have joined a federal lawsuit against the company. The suit alleges that Darden underpaid workers at 2,000 restaurants in all 50 states.

While that might sound like a hefty number of people, those who’ve opted into the lawsuit are only a slice of the 215,000 people notified that they could become plaintiffs, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Darden seems to be focusing on that in responding to this development, with a spokesman saying that the number is “well below average for these types of collective actions.” But the attorney for the plaintiffs says it’s usually between about 5% and 15% of potential plaintiffs who decided to join these kinds of suits.

This all started back in 2012 when two former employees of LongHorn Steakhouse and Olive Garden filed suit in Miami, claiming that employees had to work extra hours and that the company required servers to perform too much non-tipped work. That could be anything from rolling napkins to light cleaning.

Darden is seeking decertification, which would dismiss all those employees asked to join the suit if it’s granted. The company said in a quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week that “we believe that our wage and hour policies comply with the law.”

Almost 20,000 join Darden Restaurants lawsuit [Orlando Sentinel]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.