Olive Garden Required to Pay Overtime Wages for Not Allowing Servers to Clock in At Beginning of Shift

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you are required to be paid by your employer for all hours worked.  This means you should be “on the clock” for the entire time you are at work and should be getting paid for all “on the clock” time.  Apparently, at least one Olive Garden restaurant did not follow that rule.

Darden Restaurants Inc., doing business as the Olive Garden in Mesquite, Texas, has agreed to pay $25,570 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that 140 current and former servers were not properly paid as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company also has been assessed $30,800 in civil money penalties to be paid to the government.

Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest said, “The illegal practice of not paying servers for all hours worked is common in the restaurant industry. Workers deserve full and fair compensation for all hours of their hard work.  The resolution of this case demonstrates that we will use every available enforcement tool, including the assessment of civil money penalties, to bring violators to justice and deter all restaurants in the area from committing future labor violations.”

This investigation which was conducted by the Wage and Hour Division’s Dallas District Office, determined that the employer allowed workers to clock in once customers were seated, instead of at the start of their scheduled work shifts, resulting in shorter compensated hours and fewer wages paid.  The employer’s failure to properly record employees’ hours also resulted in violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, as well as record-keeping, provisions.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.

Should you think you are not getting paid either regular or overtime for all hours worked, feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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