Mario Batali and his former partners will have to pay $600,000 to their restaurant employees who said they experienced sexual harassment

·2 min read
Mario Batali
Mario Batali. Getty Images / Mark Von Holden
  • Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich will pay former employees $600,000 as part of a settlement.

  • The men "permitted an intolerable work environment," New York Attorney General Letita James said.

  • The payout will go to at least 20 former employees from three Manhattan restaurants.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali and his former partner Joe Bastianich will have to pay $600,000 to survivors of sexual harassment and discrimination at New York City restaurants owned by them as part of a settlement reached, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday.

"Celebrity and fame does not absolve someone from following the law. Sexual harassment is unacceptable for anyone, anywhere - no matter how powerful the perpetrator," James said in a statement.

"Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting," she said.

The attorney general added, "Every individual deserves to work in a safe environment, and today's agreement marks one more step towards remedying workplace harassment."

The two restaurateurs and the company formerly known as Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group must pay out $600,000 to at least 20 former employees who said they were sexually harassed at Manhattan restaurants Babbo, Lupa, and the now-shuttered Del Posto.

The attorney general's office opened an investigation into Batali following claims of sexual harassment against him in 2017.

The investigation found that Batali, Bastianich, and the company "had engaged in unlawful sex discrimination and retaliation, in violation of state and city human rights laws."

Allegations included unwanted touching, sexual advances, and explicit comments made by managers and coworkers to other employees of the restaurants, according to the attorney general's office.

There were also accusations that several female employees were "forcibly groped" by male colleagues.

More than 20 employees were "subjected to a hostile work environment in which female and male employees were sexually harassed by Batali, restaurant managers, and other coworkers," the attorney general's office said.

"Batali himself sexually harassed a female server by making explicit comments to her and grabbing her hand while she was serving him and pulling it towards his crotch," said the attorney general's office. "On another occasion, Batali showed a male server at Lupa an unwelcome pornographic video."

Along with the $600,000 payment, training materials must be revised by company restaurants and biannual reports must be submitted to the attorney general's office "to certify compliance with the agreement" as part of the settlement.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Read the original article on Insider