Red Lobster One of the Worst Chains To Work For, According to ROC

You probably suspected it already, but many national restaurant chains treat their workers badly. Two of the biggest abuses involve discrimination based on race and sex and something called "wage theft," which involves asking workers to do such odd tasks as sorting silverware, filling ketchup bottles and salt shakers, and other maintenance duties while working off the clock. Such places sometimes also ask non-tipped workers to do the work of tipped workers--without getting any tips, of course.

These and other complaints were detailed by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), an organization based in Chicago whose mission is "to improve wages and working conditions for the nation's low-wage restaurant workforce," according to its website. The mission statement goes on to say, "Despite employing more than 10 million workers and producing more than $1.7 trillion in revenue each year, the United States restaurant industry is less than 1% unionized...the lack of organization left millions of restaurant workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation around the country."

Now, according to a piece in Raw Story, ROC has published an Ethical Dining Guide listing the names of chains that fail to pay a decent wage, don't offer sick days, and don't provide any sort of health insurance. (According to the guide, of the 4,000 chain-food employees surveyed, 90% receive no sick days at all.) Starbucks, McDonald's, Arby's, Hooters, and Denny's are mentioned, but the Darden Restaurant Group comes in as the worst outfit to work for. This group owns Red Lobster, Capital Grille, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Olive Garden, and ROC recorded the most instances of wage theft among its employees.

ROC has set up a website called Dignity at Darden, detailing wages as low as $2.13 per hour for tipped employees, $7.25 for non-tipped (the federal minimum), the practice of forcing employees to work through their breaks, capriciously firing black workers, and other forms of discrimination. Keep it in mind next time you see one of those cheery Red Lobster commercials on TV.

[Thanks to Scott Pellegrino for the link]

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

I agree 100%.   I have worked for Red Lobster for almost 6 years..I am a 52 yr old woman.  Managment does not support  the servers, customers lie all the time for free food, and they get it.  Customers can & do say anything they feel like and management disciplines the unlucky server  who was sat that table.  After 3 write ups servers are fired.  Needless to say after almost 6 years I received a forth complaint today, I was not even told what the complaint was about.  I was told to be come to work at 10am perhaps I will find out what it was then.  I had no idea this table was having a problem with me until a manager came to me and said she would take over the table, I did ask why and got no answer, I had 3 other tables at the time so I was busy enough I just went on doing my job.  Shortly I was cut and a different manager came up and asked me to write down what happened,  I told him I had no idea so thats what I wrote, finished my sidework and left for the day, shortly after I arrived home got a call telling me to be at work an hour before restaurant opens.  Guess I am getting the ax.  It will not matter that I have a drawer full of compliments from many customers that I have served over the years.  I have come to the conclusion that I am done with this company it is apparent to me they do not deserve a honest hardworking server like me.  I did not know with all their company wide changes this past year that including firing long time loyal servers for "all the sudden" not being able to perform their jobs.  It seems to me if you are an older employee they will find a way to get your job sooner or later.  This company show obvious favoritism to chosen employees, if your not one of those there will be no future for you.  Age discrimination, favoritism, not having any positive back up from management -thats what is REALLY going on at Red Lobster.  It is truthfully NOT  "1 of the top 100 places to work."