Mario Batali Sued

Mario Batali’s high-end New York City restaurant Del Posto didn’t have long to rest on the laurels of its four-star New York Times review two weeks ago: Twenty-seven workers filed suit in federal court Tuesday for owed wages and tips. The suit alleges that the Batali-Bastianich Hospitality Group deprived employees of tips and service charges from banquets at the restaurant. This isn’t the first time Batali-Bastianich has been accused of shorting its staff. In August, two employees at Batali’s Babbo sued the group for subtracting its wine sales from the tip pool; the plaintiffs now number around 20 and involve almost half a dozen restaurants. Another suit in California makes similar charges. A former Babbo waiter who’d worked there for three and a half years said employees knew they were being deprived of tips but were afraid to do anything about it. Jeff Mansfield, an organizer with Restaurant Opportunities Center, the advocacy group representing the employees, says, “This is about really fighting to make changes in the workplace that are going to improve jobs and improve the restaurant that they work in.”