After a year of boycotts and protests, Hamden Town House Restaurant has settled a lawsuit filed by six former workers. With the help from New Haven Legal Assistance and ULA, the workers sued Town House and settled out of court for unpaid wages and overtime, as well as for damages related to workplace injuries, destroyed personal property, and workplace intimidation and abuse.
The six former workers affirm that Hamden Town House Restaurant paid them as little as $3.14, $4.20, or $5.97 per hour. During the time they were working at the restaurant, Connecticut minimum wage increased from $7.65 to $9.15; it currently stands at $10.10 per hour.
The six plaintiffs all worked between 52 and 72 hours per week. They were entitled, according to both Connecticut and federal law, to receive extra compensation (“time and a half”) for all the hours they worked over 40. None of the workers ever received overtime benefits.
“A living wage in Connecticut is at least $15 per hour,” said John Jairo Lugo, a leader of ULA. “At a time when many legislators are demanding that Connecticut raise the minimum wage to $15, it’s deplorable that many businesses are cheating and illegally paying $4 or $5 per hour. This is slavery in Connecticut. You as consumers have the power to stand up and demand that Connecticut businesses end wage theft now.”
During picket lines which lasted from the summer into the winter, the management of the Hamden Town House turned sprinklers on protesters and menaced them with a pickup truck and noise horns. During a festive picket line on Christmas Eve, Hamdenpolice Officer Dennis Putnam arrested a peaceful protester, Joseph Foran, with his child in his arms for alleged “criminal trespass.” Foran said, “This goes to show that not much has changed since Haymarket Square. The Hamden Police are union workers and should be ashamed of themselves.” The State dropped the charges last week.
At Zane’s Cycles in Branford, a worker was fired after 15 years of work as a master mechanic, in retaliation for organizing a union in the workplace. After months of protests and community outcry, the worker reached a settlement for fair severance pay.