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Monday, February 26, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Give Us a Break, Family Pizzeria Says

HARTFORD (CN) - A married couple who are the second generation to run their family pizzeria sued the Connecticut Department of Labor, which prohibited them from teaching their school-age children from learning the family business. The Nuzzo family has run the Grand Apizza in Clinton, Conn., since Michael Nuzzo's parents opened it in 1955.

In their federal complaint, Michael and Migdalia Nuzzo say they "are raising their three children in the family tradition of making New Haven style pizza."

"From time to time, when their children are out of school, they accompany their parents to the Clinton pizzeria where they watch, learn and assist their parents in the creation of New Have style pizza, and the fundamental of running a local pizzeria.

"The Nuzzo children do not operate dangerous equipment, are not paid wages, are at the pizzeria under the direct supervision of their parents and sometimes grandparents for short durations, and regularly attend public school," the parents say.

On May 12, an investigator for the state Department of Labor's Wage and Workplace Division entered the pizzeria and told Michael Nuzzo "that the Nuzzo children could not be seen assisting their parents in the Clinton restaurant pursuant to Connecticut law, which prohibits the employment of minors in certain occupations."

The Nuzzos says that violates the family's civil rights. They sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that enforcing Connecticut General Statute § 31-23 would violate their Constitutional rights to "liberty, privacy, due process, family integrity, equal protection of the law" and other "privileges and immunities enjoyed by citizens of the United States and the State of Connecticut."

The Nuzzos are represented by Raymond Rigat of Clinton.

New Haven pizza is characterized by a thin crust, topped only with tomato sauce and cheese, or perhaps littleneck clams. It is known as "apizza" and also as "mootz," in the Italian-American dialect prominent around New Haven.

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