Department of Labor Fines Business Owners Who Disregard the FLSA

With shortages in the workforce, employers may be tempted to turn a blind eye to labor laws governing minor workers. The U.S. Department of Labor, which recently issued warnings to employers who disregard child labor laws, assessed nearly $42,000 in penalties to Sonic restaurant owners who violated the law.

Fifty teens – ages 14 and 15 – working at three Sonic drive-in locations near Wichita – were employed more than the number of hours allowed by child labor laws and during nighttime hours not permitted by law, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division found that the owners of the three Sonic Restaurants permitted minors to consistently work more than three hours on a school day, more than 18 hours in a school week, and more than eight hours on a non-school day. The employer also allowed them to work later than 7 p.m. during the school year, and later than 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day. All of these employment practices violate child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

What does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) state?

  • The FLSA prohibits 14 and 15-year-old employees from working later than 9 p.m. June 1 through Labor Day and past 7 p.m. the remainder of the year.
  • Additionally, they cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day, 8 hours on a non-school day, or more than 18 hours per week.
  • The law also prohibits minors from operating motor vehicles, forklifts, and using other hazardous equipment.

Help is available

As businesses fill job openings with minors new to the workforce, it is essential employers understand and comply with child labor rules. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division at 1-866-487-9243.

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to assist business owners. For more information, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Business