Mario Batali, the celebrity chef whose empire of cooking shows, restaurants and endorsements stretches around the world, settled a $5.25 million settlement in a Manhattan federal court on March 5, according to a report. The settlement is pending approval by a federal judge.
Batali was sued in New York by servers in his restaurants who accused the pony-tailed Italian chef and his management of skimming too much of the gratuity from wine sales, court documents say. The suit was filed in 2010 by servers at restaurants including Babbo, Casa Mono, the Spotted Pig and Tarry Lodge. Batali and partner Joe Bastianich--himself a television cooking personality--agreed to settle after employees alleged management violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, Rachel Bien, a lawyer for one of the employees, said in a written statement.
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 employee's complaint read, alleging the employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, in part by pocketing gratuities equal to as much as 5 percent of nightly wine sales.