Employee sues, says Stratford business owner threatened him with a knife
STRATFORD – A kitchen worker at Off the Hook Bar and Grill said the restaurant owner stole wages, hurled profanities and dishes and threatened him with a knives.
Former prep cook Marvin Mendoza filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Off the Hook Bar and Grill, a seafood restaurant with locations in Stratford and Westbrook. The suit claims that for nearly a year, Andrew Testo, the restaurants’ owner, stole Mendoza’s wages, shouted insults and profanities at him, and threatened him with knives.
Mendoza and Unidad Latina en Acción, Latinos United in Action – ULA, will hold a press conference at Off the Hook in Stratford Monday at 5:00 p.m. and deliver the lawsuit to Testo. Afterwards, ULA, Mr. Mendoza, and his legal representatives with Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization will speak at a press conference outside of Off the Hook.
The lawsuit claims Testo promised Mendoza $12 an hour in a well-staffed kitchen, but that changed quickly when Testo allegedly fired four other kitchen employees and forced Mendoza to perform the work of five people, all while paying him approximately $3.00 per hour. The lawsuit said that many weeks, Mendoza was paid nothing.
The lawsuit said that Mendoza was fired after requesting the wages he was owed. When he said he returned with members of ULA, he said Testo threatened to call the police.
“Off the Hook is on the hook for all the wages they stole,” said Julia Solórzano, a law student representing Mendoza in a press release. “Andrew Testo flagrantly violated Mr. Mendoza rights as a worker and a human being.”
Yale students boycotted the Gourmet Heaven deli in New Haven for two years for wage issues. In June, the deli’s lease was not renewed.
“We want employers to know that we won’t rest until there is justice,” said Luis Luna, a member of ULA said in the same release.