- Associated Press - Friday, July 23, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Two former employees have accused celebrity chef Mario Batali and his famous New York City restaurant of cheating them out of tips.

The workers, a waitress and a kitchen runner, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Thursday against the former “Iron Chef America” celebrity and Babbo Ristorante Enoteca in Greenwich Village.

They say Batali forced them to illegally share their tips with other workers who weren’t entitled to them.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and class-action status.

A Babbo representative declined to comment. Batali’s publicist did not immediately respond to an e-mail Friday seeking comment.