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,...

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 —...

Chef Mario Batali Settles Lawsuit with Servers, Report Says

latimes.com - W.J. Hennigan

Mario Batali, has agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle the class-action lawsuit in which he was accused of bilking servers out of part of their tips, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Batali, was sued in a New York federal court along with his business partner Joseph Bastianich, the report says.

Servers at his restaurants initially “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,” the report says.

Mario Batali co-owns 16 restaurants in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York,...