Orlando-based Darden filed the suit against Barry Moullet this week in Orange Circuit Court.
Moullet, Darden's former senior vice president of supply chain, left the company in 2012. In a separation agreement, Moullet acknowledged he would not encourage anyone to leave Darden for two years.
Darden alleges Moullet was involved in recruiting an employee to Georgia-based Focus Brands, which hired him in November as chief supply chain officer. Liz Longstreet resigned from Darden in January and now works directly for Moullet, according to the suit.
A severance agreement gave Moullet four and a half months pay, worth almost $130,000; medical coverage; and equity and stock option-based benefits. As a result of the agreement, "Moullet has or would obtain more than $1,000,000 dollars in equity, stock-option and other separation benefits," the lawsuit said.
Darden contends it is entitled to the return of the compensation.
Darden said the separation agreement was executed "in lieu of discharge" after investigating a complaint about unethical conduct in violation of company policies.
Darden had no further comment on the suit. Moullet could not be reached for comment.