Tell Darden: No more segregated restaurants

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Black applicants are rarely hired at the Capital Grille, the only place within the Darden Restaurants company where workers can earn a living wage. And there’s no clear pipeline for workers to get from jobs at Red Lobster and Olive Garden (other brands owned by Darden) to that higher-paid work.

Restaurants that depend on African-American patrons shouldn't engage in hiring and promotions practices that discriminate against us. Please join us in demanding that Darden institute a promotions system that allows Black workers to compete for jobs as servers, bartenders and chefs at the company’s fine-dining restaurants.

Here's the letter we'll send to Darden CEO Clarence Otis, Jr. on your behalf. You can add a personal comment using the box to the right.

Dear Darden CEO Clarence Otis, Jr.,

I am writing to demand that you act now to address discrimination against Black workers within your company.

Across the restaurant industry, Black workers earn on average $4 less per hour than White workers. A look at the de facto segregation within Darden explains why this is the case. Workers of color are relegated to lower-paying jobs while White workers are hired into the front-of-the-house and chef jobs, including those at your fine-dining restaurant, Capital Grille.

I understand that you are now facing a lawsuit as a result of your employment practices. I ask that you sign an agreement with the employees in the lawsuit to institute a promotions policy that's in line with EEOC standards and that allows at least 50% of non-management staff to advance to livable wage positions, including waitstaff and bartending positions, at the Capital Grille.

At a time when Black unemployment is nearly twice the national average and the private sector is being heralded as our greatest hope, Darden’s pattern of relegating Black workers to the lowest-wage work is unconscionable. Darden’s behavior indicates that you doubt that Black restaurant workers can wield nuanced knowledge of food and drink and provide top-notch service. If that’s not the case, institute an promotions system that allows Black workers to compete for jobs at Darden’s fine-dining restaurants.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

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