Darden Restaurants Scores 100 Percent on the Human Rights Campaign 2013 Corporate Equality Index

   Darden Restaurants Scores 100 Percent on the Human Rights Campaign 2013
                           Corporate Equality Index

Only restaurant company among 252 businesses to earn perfect score

PR Newswire

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 14, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants announced
today that the company scored 100 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC) 2013 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for its business practices and
policies toward its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. A
record 252 businesses achieved the top rating of 100 percent, with Darden the
only restaurant company among them.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050203/FLTH026LOGO)

"At Darden, we embrace diversity and inclusion as business imperatives that
are critical to our success and future growth," said Samir Gupte, senior vice
president of Culture for Darden. "We believe that understanding and embracing
our unique differences enriches our corporate culture and enables us to be a
stronger, high-performing organization."

A total of 889 businesses were rated in the 2013 CEI, including the entire
Fortune 500.
Six- hundred eighty-eight companies, like Darden, voluntarily participated in
the annual survey. Companies are rated on 40 specific policies and practices,
including having fully-inclusive equal employment opportunity policies,
providing equal employment benefits, demonstrating organizational LGBT
competency, evidence of their commitment to equality publicly, and exercising
responsible citizenship.

Darden was recognized for the following policies and practices:

  oIncluding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in its
    non-discrimination policies;
  oOffering health insurance and at least three other domestic partner
    benefits;
  oBenefits coverage for transgender employees;
  oProviding diversity training, LGBT employee resource groups and other
    practices that support LGBT organizational competency; and
  oPublic engagement with the LGBT community.

The HRC's CEI report, released each fall since 2002, provides an in-depth
analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices
pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. It is the
premiere national benchmark for LGBT workplace inclusion. Businesses rated
100%are recognized as "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality." The full
report can viewed at: www.hrc.org/cei.

Darden's long history of diversity and inclusion dates back to 1938, when
company founder Bill Darden welcomed anyone as a guest in his first restaurant
during an era of racial segregation and discrimination. Today, diversity
remains at the core of Darden's culture. The company's diversity initiatives
reflect its guiding principles to attract and retain a workforce that mirrors
its diverse customer base, provide opportunities for diverse suppliers, and
contribute to the well-being of the communities it serves.

About the Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization
working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By
inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination
against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness
and equality for all.

About Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service
restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants that
generate over $8.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla.,
and employing 185,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards
caring for and responding to people. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE
"100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row and is the
only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our
restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama
Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the
rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep
insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit
www.darden.com.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

Website: http://www.darden.com
Contact: Rich Jeffers, +1-407-245-418, rjeffers@darden.com