|Batali (left) and Bastianich|
Now, a pair of TV personality entrepreneurs -- Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich -- have reportedly agreed to pay $5,250,000 to settle a 2010 lawsuit that charged them with confiscating a portion of their restaurant workers' tips. The settlement, which still must be approved by a judge, may compensate as many as 1,100 waiters, captains and other staffers.
The workers accused Batali and Bastianich of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by not pay the federal minimum wage and failing to pay overtime, according to the complaint. The suit accord may cover as many as 1,100 employees including servers, waiters and bartenders who work or worked at Babbo, Del Posto, Bar Jamon, Casa Mono, Esca, Lupa, Otto and Tarry Lodge dating back to 2004, according to court papers.
A former bartender at Bar Jamon was told that 4% of the night’s wine sales was deducted from the tip pool each evening to cover the cost of sommeliers and expenses associated with the restaurant’s large wine selection, former Judge Richard J. Holwell wrote in a ruling last May. Other employees were told the deduction covered broken glassware and that “it was policy across the Batali restaurant group,” the judge wrote.