TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that a Mexican restaurant in Jacksonville owes its workers almost $120,000 in back pay after forcing servers to work for tips alone and denying overtime pay.
The USDOL says Rosy’s Mexican Restaurant did not pay its servers any actual wages, “forcing them to rely on customer tips as their sole compensation.” The restaurant also denied overtime pay to “dishwashers, cooks and certain servers for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.”
Overtime pay is granted at 1.5 times a standard wage for any hours worked over the 40-hour workweek, according to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Based on current Florida wage laws, a server should make $6.98 per hour before tips. Overtime wages should total at least $10.47 per hour.
In total, the U.S. Dept. of Labor says Rosy’s owed 10 of its workers $118,042 in back wages and liquidated damages for the denied wages and overtime payments.
“By denying servers a cash wage and forcing them to live on tips alone and denying other workers their overtime pay, Rosy’s Mexican Restaurant made it harder for these employees, who depend on every dollar, to take care of themselves and their families,” said Wage and Hour Division District Office Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando, Florida.
The investigation report published by the department said E &E Quezada Food Services Corp., who operates the business, “failed to maintain accurate payroll records” as well as violated labor laws by having a 15-year-old employee work after 7 p.m., against the Fair Labor Standards Act’s work requirements for those under 16-years-old.
Employees under 16 years old are barred from working after 7 p.m. from Labor Day through May 31, according to the Dept. of Labor. From June 1 to Labor Day, those same employees may not work after 9 p.m. The rule applies whether or not there is a school day the next day, such as on weekends or holidays.
“Agency investigators learned of the employer’s practices through the Employment Education and Outreach alliance. The alliance is a collaboration of community and non-governmental organizations, including state, local, and federal agencies and Hispanic consulates that provides information and assistance to Spanish-speaking employees and employers regarding workplace rights and responsibilities,” the department said in a statement.