Wage & Overtime

Tip Theft

Outten & Golden attorneys are pioneers in the representation of tipped employees in New York restaurants and on the national retail scene. Tip misappropriation by employers is a growing problem in America; it occurs when an employer fails to pay their tipped employees minimum wage and does not allow them to keep their earned tips. 

Although the law provides that workers must be paid the federal and state mandated minimum wage, restaurant and other “tipped” workers are exempt from these requirements if certain conditions are met. If the worker is a tipped employee by the customs and standards of that industry, an employer can take a “tip credit” against the minimum wage and pay less than minimum wage if the worker receives a certain amount of compensation in customer tips. Unfortunately, employers unlawfully take tips in many circumstances and that wage theft hurts these workers. 

Outten & Golden attorneys were among the first legal advocates for tipped employees, successfully representing them in the earliest cases against high-profile restaurants for violations such as giving servers’ tips to supervisors and managers, taking tips that were billed directly to the customer, and forcing workers to share tips with ineligible workers.*

(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)


Batali Agrees to $5.25 Million Server Tip Suit Accord

Bloomberg - Ryan Sutton

Batali and his associate, Joseph Bastianich, made the agreement to resolve a group lawsuit brought on behalf of former and current workers at establishments that include Manhattan power restaurants Babbo and Del Posto, according to court papers filed in federal court in New York.

The workers sued Batali and Bastianich in July 2010, accusing them of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employers pocketed gratuities equal to as much as 5 percent of nightly wine sales, didn’t pay the federal minimum wage and failed to pay overtime, according to the complaint.

“Mr. Batali, Mr. Bastianich,...

Chef Batali Agrees to Pay $5.25 Million to Settle Lawsuit Brought by Restaurant Workers

The Washington Post - Associated Press

Celebrity chef Mario Batali and his business partner have agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged they confiscated a portion of their restaurant workers’ tips.

According to court papers filed in Manhattan federal court, the settlement may compensate as many as 1,100 waiters, captains and other staffers.

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The lawsuit against Batali and Joseph Bastianich was filed in 2010. It claimed their restaurants had a policy of deducting 4 to 5 percent from the tip pool at the end of each night.

Lawyers for both sides said...

Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Settles Lawsuit With His Waitstaff


Chef Mario Batali prepares dishes for the crowd at the world premiere of Volkswagen's new Jetta compact sedan in New York City in 2010.

If he's not at one of his 16 restaurants in New York, Las Vegas or Los Angeles, Mario Batali is easily found on TV these days.

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Unfortunately for Batali, the road trip this week ended in a New York federal court, where 117 waiters, captains, servers and busboys sued Batali and his business partner, Joe Bastianich. According to the complaint, the workers say the owners took their hard-earned tips —...