San Antonio pizza spot Barbaro agrees to $29,000 settlement in federal tip-share suit

The U.S. Labor Department sued the restaurant last fall alleging it forced workers to share tips with a manager.

click to enlarge The U.S. Department of Labor sued San Antonio Italian restaurant Barbaro last fall. - Brandon Rodriguez
Brandon Rodriguez
The U.S. Department of Labor sued San Antonio Italian restaurant Barbaro last fall.
The San Antonio-based owner of Italian eatery Barbaro has agreed to pay nearly $29,000 to 22 workers to settle a federal lawsuit alleging it made them fork over portion of  their tips to a manager, the Express-News reports.

Pizza Bar LLC, which does business as Barbaro, reached the deal with the U.S. Labor Department in a Wednesday court filing, the daily reports. U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez  is presiding over the case.

The Labor Department sued Barbaro last fall in San Antonio federal court, alleging the business required staffers to pay into a tip pool, which was redistributed to those who worked their shift, including a manager. The suit also accused the venture of shorting current and former employees on federally mandated overtime pay.

Restaurateur Chad Carey, whose Empty Stomach Group includes Barbaro, was unavailable for comment Thursday. However, he said in a earlier statement to the Current that he'd been fully cooperating with a Labor Department inquiry since 2022 and took the complaint "very seriously."

"Barbaro pays our employees fairly, and provides health care, paid time off [and] other benefits to our employees," he said.

In its answer to the Labor Department suit, Barbaro denied that any manager got money from its tip pool, the Express-News reports. What's more, the restaurant said its failure to pay a total of $270 in overtime was due to unintentional calculating error.

Empty Stomach Group's other San Antonio restaurant and nightlife holdings include  Little Death Wine Bar, Double Standard, Extra Fine and Vibras.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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