Spicy meatball Mario Batali has agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by workers at his restaurants, it was reported Wednesday.
Servers filed suit against Batali and his associate Joseph Bastianich in 2010, alleging that the two "unlawfully confiscated a portion of their workers' hard-earned tips in order to supplement their own profits."
Here's the nitty-gritty of the misdeeds, courtesy of the New York Post:
The suit alleged that Batali and Bastianich "misappropriated" 4 to 5 percent of each shift's wine and drink sales from the workers' tip pool, took an unlawful "tip credit" that pushed pay below minimum wage and failed to pay extra for shifts lasting more than 10 hours.
The payout for the class-action suit could cover as many as 1,110 employees who worked for Batali as servers, bartenders, and busboys from July 22, 2004, to Feb. 14, 2012.
News of the accord comes just months after Batali publicly bashed money-grubbing bankers, going so far as to compare them to Hitler and Stalin at a panel sponsored by TIME Magazine:
"So the way the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their own hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler."
Financial industry insiders interpreted Batali's remarks as a slight, with large numbers of bankers subsequently boycotting his restaurants.
In light of this news, though, maybe he meant it as a compliment?
[Image via AP]