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Former Norwalk restaurant workers allege sexual harassment and wage theft

Tamara Nunez del Prado (far left) and a group of either former workers and One Fair Wage members.
Eddy Martinez
/
Connecticut Public
Former restaurant worker Javier Ordonez (middle with black hoodie) is part of a group now alleging Norwalk restaurant Los Remolinos withheld overtime pay and ignored sexual harassment complaints.

Connecticut’s wage law mandates employers pay workers for overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week.

But Javier Ordonez, a former worker of Los Remolinos, a Colombian restaurant on 136 Washington Ave. in Norwalk said he didn’t get what he was owed.

“I worked more than 72 hours and I wasn’t given overtime,” Ordonez said.

Ordonez is one of several former employees of the restaurant who are now speaking out, alleging the restaurant owner, Manny Bautista withheld overtime pay and turned a blind eye to sexual harassment complaints.

Ordonez and three other former employees are working with a labor advocacy organization called One Fair Wage to get back wages as well as compensation for sexual harassment claims and injuries allegedly suffered while working at the restaurant.

Bautista did not answer Connecticut Public’s request for comment. Phone calls made to the restaurant went unanswered.

Ordonez and other workers such as Glenda Benitez said they’ve put up with abuse, from poor pay, to harassment from a co-worker.

“I suffered from sexual harassment for a long time, I spoke to my boss, but no one did anything,” Benitez said.

One Fair Wage presented a letter to the restaurant which said management played down the sexual harassment incidents, saying the co-worker was joking, even after the former workers said those incidents violated employment law.

The workers said their demands have not been met, so they stood outside the restaurant on Tuesday evening in the freezing cold, holding up signs advocating for fair wages and asking passerby to spend their money at another restaurant.

Tamara Nunez Del Prado, an organizer at One Fair Wage said the workers just want what they’re owed.

“What we want as workers is a dignified wage, and not being harassed, or robbed, and with that, we can provide better service to people.”

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