Florida, Food and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Unpaid or underpaid labor may seem as common in Florida restaurants as mahi-mahi.
The owners of Rosy’s Mexican restaurant in Jacksonville are paying $118,042 in back wages and damages after they were caught failing to pay employees for work, the US Department of Labor said.
This money went to 10 workers, $11,804 per employee.
Labor said investigators from the Wages and Hours Division found that Rosy’s management:
▪ Servers worked solely for their tips, not even paying the $6.98 hourly wage required to pay tipped employees in Florida;
▪ Failed to pay an overtime rate of 1 1/2 regular wages for dishwashers, cooks and waiters who worked more than 40 hours in a work week;
▪ Failed to keep payroll records showing shift start and end times or daily or weekly hours worked, making accurate payroll impossible;
▪ Allowed a 15-year-old to work after 7 p.m. on a school night. This violates the child labor portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Regarding state health inspections by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Rosy’s passed a re-inspection on November 16 after an inspection on November 10 with 11 total violations, including five high-priority violations. Among the quotes were “Raw fruits/vegetables not washed before preparation” (cut avocados with labels still on); “Exposed food poorly protected against contamination” (cut lemons discovered at the waiter/waitress station); and a stop sale forcing the destruction of refried beans held at an unsafe temperature.
State records indicate that Rosy’s, 4268 Oldfield Crossing Dr., has been operated since 2005 by E&E Quezada Food Services Corp., specifically company president Ever Quezada and vice president Elsa Quezada. Messages from Miami Herald reporters for the Quezadas were not returned.
“By denying servers cash wages and forcing them to live on tips alone and denying other workers overtime pay, Mexican restaurant Rosy has 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.
The Employment Education and Outreach alliance has alerted Labor to Rosy’s problems, the agency said. The alliance brings together various Caribbean and Latin American consulate agencies and consulates to help Spanish-speaking employers and workers with workplace rights. To contact the Employment Education and Outreach alliance, call 877-522-9832 or 877-552-9832 (55-AYUDA).
The wage and hour complaints section of Labor’s website has information on how to file a complaint if you believe your employer has breached the FLSA. The Miami Wage and Hour Division office can be reached at 305-598-6607. The national helpline is 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).
Regardless of a worker’s immigration or citizenship status, he or she can speak with the department, which says it can handle calls in more than 200 languages.
This story was originally published March 1, 2022 2:09 p.m.