The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that hundreds of current and former Olive Garden servers in Mesquite, TX were not being paid proper wages. As a result of the federal investigation, Darden Restaurants Inc. (which does business as Olive Garden in Mesquite) was found to have violated several provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
FOX News reports that Darden Restaurants will be paying $25,570 in back wages to a group of 140 Olive Garden employees. The restaurant will also have to pay $30,800 to the government in civil penalties.
How exactly did the Olive Garden branded restaurant violate the Fair Labor Standards Act? The employer reportedly only allowed servers to clock in once their first customers were seated instead of when they started their scheduled shift. This resulted in shorter compensated hours and fewer wages paid to employees.
Because of the failure to properly compensate Olive Garden employees, the Department of Labor found that Darden Restaurants violated FLSA's minimum wage provision as well as FLSA's record-keeping provision. It is actually fairly common for servers in the restaurant industry to not be compensated properly and fall victim to illegal employment practices. This is why it is so important for restaurant employees to be familiar with their rights when it comes to their wages.
Tipped employees in Texas' restaurant industry perhaps see more FLSA violations than any other type of employee. Remember, all employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This wage includes commissions, bonuses and incentive pay.
- Find a Houston Employment Lawyer (FindLaw)
- 140 Olive Garden Restaurant Workers to Receive Back Wages (U.S. Department of Labor)
- FLSA Reference Guide (FindLaw)
- Tipped Employees Under the FLSA (FindLaw)