Wage and Hour Violation Lawsuit against Mario Batali Drums up a Lot of Press

The New York Daily News, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, and many other mainstream publications are all reporting on a classic restaurant wage and hour violations case. This time, it’s Mario Batali (famous for starring in Molto Mario and Iron Chef America) who is in the hot seat.

According to the plaintiffs, Batali and his co-owner, Joseph Bastianich, underpaid their workers, illegally skimmed tips from waitstaff, and compelled staff to work more than 10 hours a day (and more than 40 hours a week) in violation of the law. Waitress Stephanie Capsolas and kitchen runner Hernan Alvarado claim that they had to split their tips with management based on the amount of wine they sold every evening at Batali’s Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca.

Other claimants include: Jeffrey Cutaiar, Nicole Medvitz, Paul Toro, Daniel Jansen, Roger Caro, Chris Ell, Chris Forbes, Jesse Patrick, and Diana Dietrich.

Attorney Maimón Kirschenbaum (who along with attorney Denise Schulman has filed the suit on behalf of the claimants) was quoted in the Post saying “it is sad to see a prestigious employer line his pockets with money belonging to the little guys.”

Here are some more quotes from the mainstream media about this case:

From the Wall Street Journal (7.22.10): "Whenever someone on that level is stealing money from someone on such a low level of income it is very egregious," said Mr. Kirschenbaum, well-known for filing such cases against restaurants.

From PRNewsWire (7.30.10): D. Maimon Kirschenbaum stated, “Mr. Bastianich and Mr. Batali are not above the law. It is a stunning response to a lawsuit to announce to the world a commitment to fight one’s employees until the end. At some point, we hope restaurant owners will learn that service employees also have rights, and they are fully able to vindicate them.”

From Eater NY (8.5.10): Attorney Maimon Kirschenbaum – yarmulke wearing and bespectacled – makes for an unlikely buccaneer, but the wunderkind of the plaintiff’s bar has racked up an impressive number of wins/settlements by making the case to New York City restaurateurs that it’s cheaper to settle than fight.

If you or a co-worker believes that you had your wages unfairly docked or you’ve been forced to work overtime without being duly compensated, turn to the experienced and highly reputable lawyers here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum to get a free and confidential consultation. Maimón Kirschenbaum in particular has built a reputation for going up against some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York City to demand justice for wait staff, bus boys, kitchen staff, and others who often get the short-end of the stick in the restaurant business. Call (212) 688-5640 or visit www.jhllp.com for immediate assistance with your wage and hour, discrimination, or retaliation case.