Mario Batali Lawsuit Settlement With Staff Totals $5.25 Million

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By Clara Morris, Christian Post Contributor
March 9, 2012|9:25 am

Celebrity Chef Mario Batali can be seen on the Food Network, PBS, ABC, and most recently, in court. Earlier this week the famed chef settled the lawsuit his waiters and staff brought forth for a total of $5.25 million.

Batali owns several restaurants across the country with his business partner, Joe Bastianich. But problems arose in many of their New York restaurants, including Babbo, Bar Jamon, Casa Mono, Esca, Del Posto, Lupa, Otto, and Tarry Lodge. Over one hundred waiters, busboys, bartenders, captains, runners and other staff sued the pair for allegedly withholding tips and failing to pay for overtime work.

The staff claimed that, at the end of each night, the two owners would calculate four to five percent of the evenings total wine sales, and then deduct that amount from the staff's tip pool. The New York Times reports that the money Batali and Bastianich took from the tip pool, they kept for themselves. Judge Richard J. Holwell wrote in his ruling that the restaurant staff was told these deductions from their tip pool went to replace broken glasses and dishes, but Holwell found no evidence of this.

The plaintiffs also claimed that the two business partners failed to provide adequate overtime pay when restaurant staff had to work 10 hours, or more, a day.

Lawyers for both sides of the case have issued the exact same statement. Carolyn D. Richmond represents Batali and Bastianich, and Rachel Bein represents the restaurants staff. They both released a statement, which said, "The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties."

Despite this case being resolved, Batali and Bastianich are not out of hot water just yet. They are both involved with another lawsuit, brought about by wait staff and other employees of their New York restaurant, Del Posto. Employees of this restaurant are suing the pair, claiming that they are still owed not just tips, but also hourly wages.

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