Mario Batali, a celebrity chef, and an associate, Joseph Bastianich, have agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by several of his New York restaurants' employees, who claimed that portions of their tips were deducted illegally.
The workers said the two violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. They claimed that at the end of their shifts, "the house deducted a portion of the night's wine sales from the tips they were supposed to receive," which sometimes totaled up to about 5 percent, according to their 2010 filing at a New York federal court.
Attorneys for the workers, which include servers, busboys, bartenders and others, and Batali said on Wednesday that "The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties," the New York Times reported on Wednesday, adding that the proposed class-action settlement must be approved by a judge and could cover about 1,100 employees.
Batali and Bastianich co-own the New York eateries Babbo, Otto, Casa Mono, Bar Jamon, Esca, Lupa, Del Posto, and Tarry Lodge. The employees named in the lawsuit worked in five of them. Anyone who worked in their restaurants between July 22, 2004 and February 14 of this year is potentially eligible to receive part of the $5.25 million settlement.
Batali co-owns a total of 17 restaurants across the United States. He appeared on the Food Network series "Iron Chef America" between 2005 and 2010 and also starred with actress Gwyneth Paltrow in the PBS documentary series "Spain... on the Road Again."
He is currently a co-host on the ABC show "The Chew," which airs on weekdays at 1 p.m. ET. Paltrow, who penned a cookbook in 2011, starred on the show on an episode that aired on March 2 (pictured above).