After 4 years of investigation, celebrity chef Mario Batali, his former business partner Joe Bastianich, and their company B&B Hospitality will pay $600,000 to settle sexual harassment claims from at least 20 former employees at the company’s New York City restaurants.
A Sexualized Culture of Misconduct and Harassment
Employees at the restaurants reported “a sexualized culture of misconduct and harassment” at Babbo, Lupa, and Del Posto restaurants, which included sexual comments and unwanted advances by managers and coworkers. Batali himself harassed servers, making sexual comments to a female employee and pulling her hand toward his genitals, and showing a pornographic video to a male server without his consent. According to Bloomberg, female employees were forcibly groped, hugged, and kissed by male employees and subject to “shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting.”
Batali, Bastianich, and B&B must not only pay out the harassed former employees but also take steps to correct their company culture. These steps include revised training materials and twice-yearly reports to the New York Attorney General’s office.
For those who suffered from the intolerable workplace, Attorney Martin A. Shellist says relief did not come fast enough:
“A resolution seems to have been warranted here, but a four-year investigation is simply too long.”
Attorney Todd Slobin remarks:
"I am very hopeful that companies like this and others one day realize that people want to go to work, to work. They are not there to be sexual props or entertainment for management."
For a more efficient way forward after sexual harassment in the workplace, plaintiffs should consider a private firm like Shellist Lazarz Slobin. We have been helping people like you since 1994, and our experienced attorneys are ready to hear about your case.