US Department of Labor finds Joliet restaurant employed 25 minors in violation of child labor limits, assesses $18K in penalties
JOLIET, IL – Federal investigators have found a Joliet restaurant and catering company illegally employed 25 minor-aged workers as bussers, runners and dishwashers after 7 p.m. on school nights and 9 p.m. on weekends, and some more than 18 hours a week, and denied seven other workers overtime for hours over 40 in workweek.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Syl’s Restaurant and Lounge – also known as Premier Events & Banquets Inc. – violated federal child labor laws limiting the number of hours that 14- and 15-year-old employees can work. The employer also violated overtime wage laws.
“Child labor laws very specifically limit how many hours and at what times minors under 16 years of age can work,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Tom Gauza in Chicago. “Employers have a legal responsibility for making sure they provide a safe environment for minor-aged workers and that they do not interfere with their schooling or overall well-being.”
The division assessed the employer $18,350 in civil money penalties and recovered $2,671 in back wages for the seven employees who were paid straight time for all hours worked, including hours over 40 in a workweek.
In fiscal year 2022, the Wage and Hour Division’s office in Chicago recovered $6.4 million, in back wages and $647,000 in liquidated damages for more than 6,400 workers. Most commonly, the division found violations of overtime and minimum wage. In the first four months of fiscal year 2023, the office has recovered $1.6 million in back wages and $814,000 in liquidated damages for 1,182 workers.
In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that young workers aged 16-19 years old comprised nearly 12 percent of the nation’s workforce. As businesses consider hiring minors new to the workforce, employers must understand and comply with child labor rules. To assist employers and inform young workers and their parents, the division recently published “Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the division’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. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.