The New York Times gave Del Posto a rare four stars last month — the first Italian restaurant to earn the designation since 1974 — but Mario Batali’s restaurant hasn’t scored high with its own employees.
Fourteen current workers and 13 former employees filed a labor violation lawsuit against the high-end Manhattan eatery and its owners, celeb chef Batali, Lidia Bastianach and Joseph Bastianich. They claim that management cheated them out of tips from nightly wine sales and on service charges added to banquet bills, among other allegations.
The suit follows months of negotiations between Del Posto and the Restaurant Opportunities Center, a workers’ advocacy group.
“The people who made that experience for [the Times food critic] were at the top of their game,” said Jeff Mansfield of ROC. “The fact is they’re having to fight for things that should be a given.” ROC is threatening other lawsuits against the restaurant.
Del Posto — which claimed in a New York Times article to have spent $500,000 on improvements to try to win back a Michelin star, to no avail — declined to comment.
The lawsuit follows a class-action wage and hour suit filed on behalf of two employees from Batali’s Babbo.