Darden Restaurants violated federal labour laws by underpaying thousands of servers at its subsidiaries across the US, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday.
The lawsuit seeks to collectively represent current and past employees who worked for Darden from August 2009 to the present.
It seeks potentially tens of millions of dollars in back pay and other compensation, plus interest and lawyers' fees.
"Darden has a companywide practice of paying its employees below minimum wage and less than the law requires," said lead lawyer David Lichter.
"We're seeking not only to correct the wrongs that have occurred, but hopefully this will stimulate change across the country."
Darden spokesman Rich Jeffers said the allegations "fly in the face of our values and how we operate our business."
The company - which runs Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster and other chains - has more than 2,000 restaurants that employ about 180,000 people.
The Department of Labour had found violations similar to those claimed in the lawsuit in previous investigations.
In 2011 the company was fined $30,800 (£19,300) and agreed to pay more than $25,000 (£15,600) in back wages to Olive Garden workers in Mesquite, Texas.
In the same year it was hit with a $24,000 (£15,000) fine and paid more than $27,000 (£16,900) in back pay to Red Lobster staff in Lubbock, Texas.
There are lawsuits pending in Illinois and New York.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Donate to the Fighting Fund here
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
As LGBT activists worldwide celebrate anti-homophobia day we are reminded of prevailing prejudice
Bradford has seen the launch of a new campaign to battle the sources of child sex exploitation - and combat far-right bids to make it a racial issue