Currently traveling the world accompanied by the stunning Gwyneth Paltrow, celebrity TV chef Mario Batali is a big name in New York’s culinary retreats. His standing when it comes to making business might well have nothing in common with the ritual of tasting food. In fact, even if he’s famous for his comments regarding today’s unmoral financial industry, Mario Batali has just agreed to a $5.25 million settlement paid to employees in his New York restaurant.
Over the past few years, celebrity chef Mario Batali and his business partner Joseph Bastianich have been involved in a lawsuit initiated by their own employees. About 1,100 of the people that worked in their restaurants have filed a complaint with the Manhattan Federal District Court requesting the owners to pay pack their stolen tips.
Employees accused the owners of forcing a policy that allowed them to deduct a 4 to 5 percent amount of all the wine sales for the day from their tip pool. The amount was kept by the owners and put on top of the profits. The legal action was initiated by everybody in the restaurant staff that was supposed to receive money from the tip pool, from bus boys to bartenders and servers.
Court papers filed by employees read: “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 allegations continued as employees complained the owners failed to pay the minimum wage under the federal legislation and had no wage policy for overtime.
Earlier this week, the celebrity chef and his partner have agreed to pay a $5.25 million settlement to about 1,100 workers that were employed starting 2004 at the following restaurants: Babbo, Del Posto, Bar Jamon, Casa Mono, Esca, Lupa, Otto and the Tarry Lodge.
In November 2011, Mario Batali angered the financial industry with remarks he had to apologize for as early as the next day. He argued that what bankers do to “toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys”. He also added that bankers are far from being the “heroes but they are people that had a really huge effect on the way the world is operating”.