Batali, Partners Will Pay Del Posto Workers $1.15 Million

Mario Batali
Chef Mario Batali has agreed to pay $1.15 million to 31 workers in a labor dispute. Photographer: Melanie Dunea/BWR Public Relations via Bloomberg News

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Mario Batali today agreed with his partners to pay $1.15 million to 31 workers at Del Posto, settling a 2010 labor dispute at his most expensive New York restaurant.

The agreement resolves claims alleging misappropriation of tips, racial discrimination, spread of hours pay, lost minimum wage and overtime, according to a joint statement from Del Posto’s owners and Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY), a nonprofit advocacy group for the workers.

The statement also denies “all of the workers’ allegations.”

Del Posto charges $115 for its five-course dinner menu, and $145 for its tasting menu.

The owners, B&B Hospitality Group, agreed to institute sensitivity training for management and an “expansion” of paid sick days and paid vacation.

In an e-mail statement, Batali said he looks “forward to working with ROC-NY to continue to foster and improve a mutually beneficial relationship with our team.”

The joint statement also said the restaurant will work with ROC-NY to become a “High Road Employer” in the industry.

“We’re very excited for the workers,” Daisy Chung, executive director of ROC-NY, said in a telephone interview. “Del Posto will continue working with us in our High Road Program. They took a really great step in saying that they want to work with us.”

Earlier this year Batali settled another tips-related lawsuit for $5.25 million.

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