Kentucky Roosters Wings franchisee pays $43K in fines, $182K in back wages, damages after investigation finds child labor, overtime violations
LOUISVILLE, KY – Less than six months after an investigation found three Kentucky fast-food franchisees employing more than 300 children outside of federally allowed hours, the U.S. Department of Labor has discovered another Louisville restaurant enterprise violating federal child labor laws, this time with 55 children at nine locations across the state.
Investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined Cock-A-Doodle-Doo LLC – operating as Roosters Wings – employed 14- and 15-year-olds to work beyond what is legally allowed at nine of its locations across Kentucky. The agency found these 55 employees working past 7 p.m. from the day after Labor Day through May 31, past 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day, more than 8 hours on a non-school day and more than 18 hours during a school week.
The agency assessed $43,505 in penalties for Cock-A-Doodle-Doo to address the child labor violations.
“Child labor laws ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities. Too often, employers fail to follow the laws that protect young workers,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils in Louisville, Kentucky. “Anyone – employers, parents and young workers – can take advantage of all the child labor resources the Wage and Hour Division offers online to assist in understanding obligations and rights under the law.”
In addition to the child labor violations, the employer failed to combine the hours when employees worked across multiple locations within the same workweek. By doing so, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo paid straight-time rates to the employees for all hours worked, instead of the time-and-a-half rate due for hours worked over 40, as the law requires. The agency recovered $182,125 in back wages and liquidated damages for seven workers to account for these violations.
“One of the more common violations we uncover in restaurant investigations is the employer failing to pay overtime at the correct rate. Employees deserve to be paid no less than they legally earn,” added Garnett-Civils. “Failing to do so deprives the workers of their dignity and makes it harder for them to provide for themselves and their loved ones.”
This investigation comes less than six months after the Wage and Hour Division found three Kentucky-based McDonald’s franchisees employing more than 300 children outside of federally allowed work hours.
The Department of Labor’s YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the department and its partners promote developmental work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law.
The division offers confidential compliance assistance to anyone with questions about how to comply with the law by calling the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages, regardless of where they are from.
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. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.