The New York Times reports
that Chef Mario Batali and his business partner Joseph Bastianich have agreed to settle a class action suit for $5.25 million. The suit was brought by 1100 busboys, waiters and staff who claimed that since 2004 Batali's restaurants illegally deducted an amount equivalent to around 4% of wine sales from the tips of employees. The restaurants sued included Babbo, Del Posto, Casa Mono, Bar Jamon, Esca, Lupa and Otto, all in Manhattan.
The defendants admitted no wrongdoing, and both attorneys issued a statement saying "The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties." If the judge approves the settlement, up to one third of the money will go to the plaintiffs' attorneys, who clearly took the case on a contingency basis. This is the latest in a number of similar cases in New York in which employees claim that restaurants have illegally withheld part of their tip money. That means each plaintiff will get around $3,150 as a result of the lawsuit.