Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, named the best restaurant in America by Eater and sitting at number 11 on the World’s 50 Best list, has settled a class-action wage theft lawsuit for a whopping $2 million.
The complaint, first brought up in July 2016 and also brought against NYC sister restaurant Blue Hill, alleges that Blue Hill failed to pay certain service employees the correct amount of money because of tip pool mismanagement, illegal retention of service charges, and failure to pay overtime. Specifically, Blue Hill shared tips with non-service employees like expeditors and didn’t share private event service charges with its service employees, according the complaint, as well as not paying the extra hour of pay required by the state for working more than 10 hours in a row.
By settling in December, Blue Hill has not admitted to any wrongdoing, but will pay $2 million to approximately 250 eligible former and current servers, bussers, backwaiters, runners, bartenders, and hosts/hostesses, unless they opt out of the settlement. If divided equally, that’s roughly $5,000 per employee, since one-third will go to Wigdor Law LLP, the firm representing the employees, and lead plaintiffs Leah Jacobs and David Bobb will each get an additional $25,000. Any unclaimed funds will benefit food rescue non-profit City Harvest.
Eater has reached out to Wigdor Law and Blue Hill for comment. The full court documents are below.
Blue Hill is just the latest NYC restaurant in a string to have wage lawsuits brought against it. The most recent is Babu Ji, which is still ongoing, as well as Babbo, which dished out more than $5 million in 2012, Per Se’s for $500,000, Gramercy Tavern’s for $700,000, and Boulud, which paid $1.4 million — making Blue Hill’s settlement one of the largest sums in the past decade.