The restaurant and food industry continues to have issues when it comes to people getting the pay they earned. The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have documented this in a series of reports over the past several years, yet the problem persists.
This time, NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters helped two out of three people who complained about not getting paid.
A young man from Avon with special needs says he hoped working as a dishwasher at Friendly's last summer would help him stash cash for college. But Alex Ryan's checks never came, "(they) said wait a couple days and we'll give you money and then we waited a couple days and we still never got the money for it."
Alex and his family contacted the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, who helped him get in touch with the right people at the CT Department of Labor, and his roughly $400 check showed up, ten months after he earned it.
For its part, Friendly's said:
"Alex was with us as part of a program the Avon, CT Friendly's formerly took part in with the local high school, where special needs students take part in a workplace setting to gain experience. In June 2016, Alex applied to be considered for employment but was not hired at that time. Alex continued at the location for a few weeks and restaurant management thought this was a continuation of his high school program. We regret this confusion."
Alex's family disagrees with Friendly's account and said the restaurant asked him to work.
Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) student Jordan Resnisky also reached out to the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters after he said he had trouble getting paid by the owner of Meadow Stone Farm, a Brooklyn, Connecticut, cheese maker.
He shared texts with us showing he worked there two days and was let go for not working fast enough at a farmers market, but said when he asked about getting paid for the days he did work, the owner, Julie Lamothe, never replied.
NBC Connecticut urged Resnisky to get in touch with the CT Department of Labor right away, who got him his $143 paycheck. Lamothe told us via text that Resnisky only wanted $100 to work a day or two, known as a quick hit, adding "his check has always been waiting for him."
Resnisky denies Lamothe's claim about a quick hit and said she never told him his check was available.
Then there's Walter Cousins, who said he worked at Us Restaurant and Lounge in Middletown, which abruptly closed.
One of its owners, Earl O'Garro, eventually went to prison in a high profile, but unrelated, financial fraud case. Cousins reached out to see if we could help get the money owed him, but the CT Department of Labor says it rarely can help in cases like this.
NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters could not get in touch with O’Garro, or his ex-wife, who also played a role in running the restaurant, for their take on what happened with Walter Cousins. In spite of his failure to get paid, in most cases, you can fight back. The CT Department of Labor helps out people working for smaller businesses that do most of their work in the state, the U.S. Department of Labor takes cases involving larger employers engaging in interstate commerce.