Skip to page content
Wage and Hour Division
Bookmark and Share

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Printer-Friendly Version

Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 11-392-DAL


April 12, 2011


Elizabeth Todd - Juan Rodriguez


972-850-4710 - 972-850-4709

140 Olive Garden restaurant workers in Mesquite, Texas, to receive more than $25,000 in back wages following US Labor Department investigation

Restaurant also assessed $30,800 in civil money penalties

MESQUITE, Texas -- Darden Restaurants Inc., doing business as the Olive Garden in Mesquite, 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.

“The illegal practice of not paying servers for all hours worked is common in the restaurant industry,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “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 was conducted by the Wage and Hour Division’s Dallas District Office, which 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 Olive Garden in Mesquite, a full service restaurant, employs approximately 85 workers. In addition to paying the full amount of back wages, Darden Restaurants, headquartered in Orlando, Fla., has agreed to maintain future compliance with the law.

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.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Dallas District Office at 817-861-2150. Information is also available on the internet at


U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit