On Friday, New York State Attorney General (AG) announced that a settlement had been reached between celebrity chef Mario Batali and his former business partner Joe Bastianich and 20 employees who faced sexual harassment when they worked at Babbo, Lupa and Del Posto, which is now closed, restaurants in Manhattan. The twenty men and women have received $600,000 in the settlement.
As a part of the settlement, Batali, Bastianich, and B&B now called Pasta Resources not only have to pay a cash settlement to the employees but also have to revise training materials in all B&B restaurants. They have to provide bi-annual reports that show that they are in compliance with the agreement, to the AG’s office. These reports have to be submitted for three years and should document the company’s harassment and discrimination training and policies
After conducting a four-year investigation, the AG’s office that the work culture encouraged sexual harassment at all the three popular restaurants. Managers and co-workers groped employees, passed explicit and lewd comments. They also forcibly kissed employees on several occasions.
In a statement James said that Batali and Bastianich permitted the work environment to be an intolerable one and allowed behavior that would be considered shameful and inappropriate in any setting. She also said that “celebrity” and “fame” did not absolve a person “from following the law.”
She also said that every individual deserved to work in an environment that was safe, and that Friday’s agreement marked another step forward in the direction of “remedying workplace harassment.”
Batali was personally accused of grabbing a waitress’s hand and pulling it towards his crotch as she was serving him. He had also shown another waiter a pornographic video against the waiter’s will. Batali has faced several other charges of inappropriate behavior and touch in the past.
Multiple agencies contacted both Batali and Bastianich but received no response from them. The settlement agreement has both the men’s signatures.
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