Chef Mario Batali and a business partner have agreed to settle a class action lawsuit brought by nearly 1,100 employees, including bartenders, captains, busboys, waiters, runners and others, for $5.25 million, The New York Times reported from a filing made in Federal District court in Manhattan.
The class action lawsuit claimed that Batali restaurants illegally confiscated part of their workers tip money to supplement profits, reported the AP. The lawsuit was filed against Batali and Joseph Bastianich in 2010 and said that each night, the restaurants deducted 4 to 5 percent of all tips made from wine sales, Reuters reports.
“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 class action lawsuit said.
Reuters reports that if the lawsuit had gone to trial, the deduction would have been found illegal because of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which limits how an employer can take and use tips. The act says that tips belong to the employee, and that Chefs, management, and dishwashers cannot be included in a tip pool, though they are able to receive a portion of mandatory service charges, which are different then tips.