Television personality as co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” cook-book author, and restaurant owner Mario Batali, along with his business partner Joseph Bastianich, have agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle a tip scamming suit.
According to the complaint of 1,100 waiters, servers, and bartenders, “Mr. Batali, Mr. Bastianich, and their restaurants, unlawfully confiscated a portion of their workers’ hard-earned tips in order to supplement their own profits.”
The 5% tip deduction of their daily wages, which was justified as “covering the cost of broken glasses,” to some employees, along with no overtime compensation, and sub-minimum wage salaries, led the employees to file a suit at a Manhattan federal court in 2010, accusing their employers as violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employees worked at Manhattan restaurant giants Babbo and Del Posto, along with others such as Bar Jamon, Casa Mono, Esca, Lupa, Otto, and Tarry lodge, and the complaints concern the years 2004 onwards.
Bastianich said in 2010 that he would “fight this to every inch of the law, because we know we’re right”; and Batali, on the topic of bankers, said they were comparable to Hitler and Stalin for having “toppled the way money is distributed.” More recently, the two have agreed to pay $5.35 million for having cheated their employees.
“The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties,” said Rachel M. Bien, a lawyer on the side of 1,100 employees.