Chef Andrew Carmellini’s restaurant group Noho Hospitality is paying out a whopping $5.5 million to settle a wage suit brought against its high-profile restaurants around town like Lafayette, Bar Primi, and Locanda Verde.
The class action suit covers anyone who worked in a front-of-house, tipped position at Noho Hospitality restaurants (Leuca, Locanda Verde, the Dutch, Joe’s Pub, the Library, Lafayette, Bar Primi, Little Park/Evening Bar, and Westlight) between September 2012 and January 2019. Four employees initiated the suit, claiming that the company didn’t pay the proper minimum wage and overtime pay, as well as misappropriated tips from private events. Letters have been sent to anyone who is entitled to a portion of the settlement, with a notice informing them of how much they are owed.
In a statement, Carmellini and his partners Luke Ostrom and Josh Pickard contend that they are “very confident that we as a company have always operated within the guidelines of the law,” but “rather than spend many years and enormous resources fighting this suit, we made the decision to put our business, employees and guests first and resolve the claims now.”
This is just the latest example in a long string of wage lawsuits against restaurants, though it’s one of the higher settlements. Other payouts reaching this amount include a 2017 one at Blue Hill for $2 million, a $5 million payout from Babbo in 2012, and $1.4 million at Boulud in 2015.