As demand for summer workers grows, US Department of Labor reminds Salt Lake City-area employers to comply with child labor laws
SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Department of Labor is stepping up its efforts to identify child labor violations in the Salt Lake City area as school closings for the summer nears, and its Wage and Hour Division offers the findings of three recent investigations to remind employers about the regulations and limitations related to the employment youth.
These investigations found employers allowed minors to operate dangerous machinery and to work beyond the time permitted, during school hours, more than 3 hours on a school night and more than 18 hours a workweek. In each of these cases, employers put minor-aged workers’ well-being at risk and faced penalties for their violations. Specifically, the investigations found the following:
- Meisterguys LLC, operator of Five Guys Burgers & Fries Ogden, allowed minors to operate or assist in operating a trash compactor and a manual fryer, which are prohibited occupations for 14- and 15-year-old workers. The employer also allowed minors to work more than 3 hours on a school day, more than 18 hours on a school week, and past 7 p.m. from Labor Day through May 31. Additionally, minors were allowed to work past 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day and more than 8 hours on a non-school day. The department assessed Meisterguys $17,159 in civil money penalties.
- Mammoth Holdings LLC, doing business as Wiggy Wash Corp., violated the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by permitting minors to work more than three hours on a school day; past 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day or past 7 p.m. from Labor Day through May 31; and more than 18 hours in a school week. The department assessed $5,528 in civil money penalties.
- PCO-KTA LLC, operator of Kent’s Market, also violated the FLSA’s hazardous occupation provisions by allowing minors to operate a trash compactor at the grocery store regularly. The investigation also found the employer allowed one minor to work past 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day. The department assessed $6,283 in civil money penalties.
In fiscal year 2021, the division’s Southwest Region conducted 117 investigations that involved child labor violations. They assessed employers with nearly $300,000 in civil penalties and found 382 minors employed in violation of FLSA child labor provisions. The division also identified hazardous occupation order violations in 26 of the investigations.
“Allowing minors to work past the allowed time and duration per week can affect their education negatively and hurt their opportunities for future employment,” said Wage and Hour District Director Kevin Hunt in Salt Lake City. “Early employment opportunities are meant to be valuable and safe learning experiences for young people and should never put them at risk of harm. As the demand to fill summer jobs grows and the job market continues to be more competitive, employers who fail to keep minor-aged workers safe and follow child labor regulations may struggle to find the young people they need to operate their businesses.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). 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. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.