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Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Chef Mario Batali and his former business partner Joe Bastianich reached a settlement and will pay $600,000 to at least 20 former employees following an investigation into allegations of sex assault and harassment.

The big picture: New York Attorney General Letitia James said the investigation found that "Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting,” James said, per the New York Times. “Celebrity and fame does not absolve someone from following the law.”

  • James noted that the investigation, launched in 2018, found Batali, Bastianich and their management company in violation of state and city human rights laws.
  • The settlement requires that Bastianich’s restaurants — and any that he or Batali might have majority ownership in during the next three years — require sexual harassment training.
  • Batali is still facing at least two civil suits and a possible criminal trial.

Catch up quick: In 2017, Batali was accused of sexual assault and harassment. He stepped away from his ABC show "The Chew" and, in 2019, the Bastianich family and other stakeholders purchased his shares to terminate their 20-year-long partnership as restaurant owners.

  • The accusations emerged during the height of the #MeToo movement when hundreds of people — predominately men — were accused of sexual offenses.

What they're saying: "The past few years have truly been a transformative period,” Bastianich said in a statement to The Times. "Including the pandemic, there have been a lot of lessons learned over the past three and a half years, and it has given us an opportunity to redefine our business and the culture we want to foster within our restaurants, emerging as the company we want to be."

Go deeper

U.S. Soccer hires Sally Yates to investigate NWSL sexual abuse reports

Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates in the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates will lead an investigation into "allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in women's professional soccer," effective "immediately," the sport's U.S. governing body announced Sunday.

Of note: The National Women’s Soccer League said Sunday it hired an outside law firm to investigate the widespread reports of NWSL players being subjected to harassment and abuse, often by male coaches.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
21 mins ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.