Another group of former employees from Mario Batali's empire are suing him for allegedly taking money out of their tips, and this time it's workers at his Los Angeles restaurant Pizzeria Mozza. According to TMZ, the former employees claim Batali and partner Joe Bastianich had created a "wine program" wherein a percentage of credit card tips were funneled out of a larger pool and into their pockets. These charges are of course similar to those filed last month by former employees at Babbo in a lawsuit that was then amended to include claims from workers at five other Batali/Bastianich restaurants.
Although the LA case currently only involves former workers at the pizzeria, they claim that a similar scheme was going down at the more upscale Batali joint next door, Osteria Mozza. So, don't be surprised if former workers from that restaurant jump aboard the lawsuit train sometime soon, too.
Again, there could be something to it, or it could be a few ex-employees and lawyers looking for an easy payday. For more on what to make of the case, please do refer to Joe Bastianich's recent statement about the original suit, and our legal analysis from lawyer and sometimes restaurateur Adam Cohn.
Meanwhile, a tipster informs Eater that both Blue Ribbon Sushi and Eleven Madison Park were named in similar lawsuits that are not yet available online.
· Chef Mario Batali -- Accused of Playing Hide the Tip [TMZ]
· Bastianich: We Will Not Be Shaken Down by Our Workers [~ENY~]
· More Employees Jump Aboard Batali/Bastianich Wage Lawsuit[~ENY~]
· All Pizzeria Mozza Coverage on Eater LA [~ELA~]