Business

He owns Mexican restaurants and has a history of shorting pay. This time, by $83,000

The Apopka-based owner of five Mexican restaurants demonstrated diversity in the ways it didn’t pay workers out of $83,577 in earned wages.

That’s according to the Department of Labor’s announcement about Rios Rodriguez Enterprises, which earned $21,266 in civil penalties as a “repeat offender.”

Rios Rodriguez Enterprises is one of five companies that list Apoka resident Joel Rios as president or sole officer on their State of Florida registry. Those companies operate La Fiesta of Ormond Beach, La Fiesta of Port Orange, Agave Azul Mexican Cuisine in Orlando and in Winter Park, and Saint Anejo Mexican Kitchen in Winter Springs.

The $83,577 will go to 91 employees across the five restaurants, an average of $918.43 per worker.

Here are the various ways Wage and Hour Division investigators found those workers got skimmed:

Tipped employees didn’t get paid the federal minimum wage for all hours worked after the employers “rounding practices resulted in time worked not being compensated.”

Cooks got paid flat salaries no matter how many hours they worked and that turned into overtime violations when they exceeded 40 hours. A 2013 investigation of Agave Azul Mexican Cuisine in Orlando found the same violation, thus the civil penalty for repeating history.

In calculating overtime, the company required working over 80 hours over two weeks instead of 40 hours a week.

Also, Labor said, “The employer also failed to maintain accurate payroll and time records.” This is a common violation for those busted for owing back pay, if incongruous for a business that pays so many of its employees by the hour.

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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