Steakhouse agrees to pay $1.5M to employees in settlement

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle-based steakhouse El Gaucho has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed its restaurants withheld wages and tips from employees.

The News Tribune reports the settlement affects about 400 current and former employees from the restaurants located in Tacoma, Bellevue and Seattle.

Matthew Blasco, a former server at the Tacoma location, filed the suit in 2016, claiming a number of labor law violations including managers withholding tips and requiring off-the-clock work.

CEO Chad Mackay says reaching a settlement was in the best interest of the employees, customers and company.

A judge gave preliminary approval on the settlement earlier this month and will decide whether to finalize it in April.