Operator of Zaxby’s franchise in Georgia pays $15K in penalties after federal investigation finds child labor violations at Clarksville restaurant
Employer: Mcdreams Enterprises Inc., operating as Zaxby’s
1660 441 Historic Highway N
Clarkesville, GA 30523
Investigation findings: U.S. Department of Labor investigators found the employer allowed 19 employees – 14- and 15-year-olds – to work outside of legally allowed hours, a violation of the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, the employer let the minors work during school hours, more than three hours on a school day and more than eight hours on a non-school day, more than 18 hours during a school week and before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
The division also discovered the employer allowed 15-year-old employees to operate a deep fryer without automatic controls to lift the fry basket in and out of the hot oil or grease, a prohibited task for minors as detailed in the FLSA’s child labor standards provisions.
Investigators also learned Mcdreams Enterprises Inc. failed to meet the minimum weekly salary of $684 for two general managers. By doing so, the employer lost its right to claim an overtime exemption for these employees and owed them a time-and-a-half rate of pay for hours over 40 in a workweek.
Civil money penalties assessed: $15,979 to address child labor violations.
Back wages and liquidated damages recovered: $1,177 for two employees.
Quote: “With the widespread employment of minors in the restaurant industry, many employers must understand the laws that govern when, how often and how long minors work, and the tasks they are assigned. Employers must carefully observe the fine line between giving minors meaningful work experience and putting their safety, well-being and schooling opportunities at risk,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven Salazar in Atlanta. “We encourage, employers, parents, educators and young workers to use the variety of resources we provide and attend our upcoming webinar on April 26, to learn their obligations and rights under the law.”
Background: From fiscal year 2020 through 2022, the division assessed employers more than $2.8 million in penalties and conducted more than 500 child labor investigations affecting nearly 2,900 minors in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
To help employers avoid child labor violations, the department’s division will hold a webinar on child labor regulations for employers, minor-aged workers and their parents, school representatives and other stakeholders on April 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT. The webinar panel is free, but registration is required.
Employers can also contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including information about protections for young workers on the department’s YouthRules! website. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free, which is available in English and Spanish.