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Batali Agrees to $5.25M Server-Tip Suit Accord

Bloomberg - Phil Milford and Ian Thomas

Mario Batali, the celebrity TV chef and New York restaurant owner, is often seen with actress Gwyneth Paltrow, taste-testing the culinary delights of Spain in their public television series “On the Road Again.”

Batali took a detour, through his lawyers, to New York federal court in Manhattan, where he was sued and accused of cheating workers of part of their tips, as well as failing to pay overtime and the minimum wage. He and his associate Joseph Bastianich agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle the class- action lawsuit, according to court papers.

Servers at restaurants including Babbo and Del Posto sued in 2010 alleging their employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act -- in part by pocketing gratuities equal to as much as 5 percent of nightly wine sales.

“Mr. Batali, Mr. Bastianich, and their restaurants unlawfully confiscated a portion of their workers’ hard-earned tips in order to supplement their own profits,” employees said in their complaint.

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The accord in the class-action suit 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.

Everyone Satisfied

“The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, Rachel M. Bien, one of the employees’ lawyers, said today by e-mail.

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The case is Capsolas v. Pasta Resources Inc., 10-cv-5595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).