Winter Park bakery employed 13-year-old as unpaid ‘volunteer,’ allowed minor to operate dangerous slicer, in violation of federal laws
WINTER PARK, FL – A Winter Park bakery engaged a 13-year-old worker as an unpaid volunteer, and risked the child’s safety by allowing them to operate a power-driven bread slicer, in violation of federal laws governing pay practices and child labor.
In addition to child labor violations, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found the following pay practices in violation of the wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Paid bakers and cooks straight time, and failed to pay the time-and-a-half rate required for all hours over 40 in a workweek, a violation of overtime regulations.
- Paid overtime rates only to those employees who exceeded 80 hours in a bi-weekly basis. Federal law requires that overtime be calculated on a weekly basis.
- Failed to maintain accurate records of employees’ pay and hours worked.
Bread & Co.’s failure to pay the 13-year-old worker, use of the minor in a hazardous occupation and improper pay practices all violated requirements of the FLSA.
As a result of their investigation, the division assessed a $9,979 civil money penalty to Bread & Co. for the violations and recovered $4,706 in back wages and liquidated damages for 17 workers.
“Bread & Co. used a minor as free labor and then exposed the child to a dangerous machine with the potential to cause serious injury in violation of federal law,” said Wage and Hour Division District Office Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando, Florida. “Work can provide a valuable learning experience for young workers, but they must be paid properly and kept safe. The Wage and Hour Division welcomes questions or concerns from employers, parents, workers and teachers to ensure the well-being of young workers.”
The Southeast Region is hosting a special lunch and learn webinar for employers, minor-aged workers and their parents, school representatives and other interested stakeholders on Thursday, February 10th from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST. This event provides an opportunity for participants to learn more about federal laws governing youth employment. Participation is free, but registration is required.
The Wage and Hour Division encourages people use contact the agency directly with questions or use free, online resources to understand their workplace responsibilities, including fact sheets with information about requirements for hiring young workers. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions regardless of their immigration status. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).
Visit the agency’s website to learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.