Famous Chefs Face Expensive Employment Law Claims

Sometimes the reality show doesn't tell all. According to sources, famous chefs Mario Batali and Paula Deen are both facing Employment Law related lawsuits arising out of conduct within their famous restaurants.

Batali Settles Tip Suit

Batali has allegedly recently agreed to a $5.25 million settlement stemming from a suit brought on behalf of workers at his New York restaurants, including Babbo. Apparently the management at some of his restaurants was engaging in the unlawful practice of tip skimming, whereby management "skims" off a portion of the tips.

Generally, federal and state laws require that all tips received by employees must be retained by the employees. This is usually interpreted to mean that an employer may not keep any portion of an employee's tips.  Regardless of whether Batali himself instructed his management to retain the tips, according to the principles of Agency Law, the restaurant would be liable for the actions conducted during the course of their employment.

Paula Deen's Restaurant Woes

Paula Deen and her brother/restaurant co-owner were also sued recently, by a former manager of her restaurant Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, for alleged sexual harassment and racist comments, including alleged use of the "N" word. This article has more detailed information about the allegations.

Essentially, the plaintiff claims that, "over the course of five years, she made 'numerous and frequent' complaints of racial and sexual harassment and other abusive treatment to Deen and others in her restaurant group’s upper management, but they declined to act, even though the conduct was 'universally known.'"

Click to learn more about Employment Law.