UTAH (ABC4) — The U.S. Department of Labor recently found four Sodalicious shops to have violated child labor laws by allowing teens to work more hours than federal law permits.

In a press release published on Wednesday, March 29, the Wages and Hours Division determined that Sodalicious shops in Midvale, Orem, Provo and South Jordan, allowed employees between 14 and 15 years old to work past 7 p.m. when school was in session and after 9 p.m. during the summer. Additionally, these teenage employees were also working more than three hours on a school day.

The Labor Standards Act’s provision states that 14- and 15 year-old employees at restaurants and quick-service establishments cannot work:

  • More than 3 hours on a school day, including Friday.
  • More than 18 hours per week when school is in session.
  • More than 8 hours per day when school is not in session.
  • More than 40 hours per week when school is not in session.
  • Before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day, except from June 1 through Labor Day, when nighttime work hours are extended to 9 p.m.

“Our investigators continue to see an increase in child labor violations, especially in the food service industry,” said Wage and Hour Southwest Regional Administrator Betty Campbell. “Employers like Sodalicious are legally responsible for knowing and complying with federal child labor laws and making sure their employment practices do not jeopardize the safety of young workers or interfere with their education.”

Sodalicious has been hit with a $13,946 penalty fine following the discovery of the infractions.

Founded in 2013, Sodalicious is a soda and dessert chain operating a total of 26 locations in the country, including six locations in Arizona and four locations in Idaho.

The Wage and Hour Division reports having found more than 3,800 minors employed in a capacity that violated child labor laws in 2022, which is a 37% increase from the year before.

The soda chain is not the only employer that had been found to have violated child labor laws. The U.S. Department of Labor has also found the following companies in Utah that have put young employees at risk:

  • Meisterguys LLC, the operator of Five Guys Burger in Ogden, had minors operate a trash compactor and manual fryer, which are prohibited occupations for 14- and 15 year-old workers. The employers also allowed those teens to work more hours than federal law permits. Meisterguys was fined $17,159.
  • Mammoth Holdings LLC, operating in Utah as Wiggy Wash Corp., was also fined $5,528 for letting minors work more hours than they are allowed.
  • An investigation also determined Kent’s Market’s operator, PCO-KTA LLC, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by allowing teenage employees to use the trash compactor at the grocery store and letting one minor work past 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day. PCO-KTA LLC was fined $6,283.