ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) — The U.S. Department of Labor has fined the owner and operator of two southern Utah Chick-fil-A locations after federal investigators found violations of child labor laws and denied overtime.
The fines amounted to $187,467 total with nearly $47,000 recovered in back wages and “liquidated damages.”
According to federal investigators, the two St. George Chick-fil-A locations, which are owned and operated by DM Holding Co. LLC, employed 237 minors in violation of child labor laws. Violations included illegally allowing 14- and 15-year-old employees to work past permitted hours and for too many hours in one day.
The Labor Standards Act restricts 14- and 15-year-old employees from working more than three hours on a school day, including Friday, or more than 18 hours per week when school is in session. When school is not in session, younger employees can then work no more than eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.
Young teen employees also cannot work past 7 p.m. except on June 1 through Labor Day, when work hours are extended to 9 p.m.
“We know that good and safe jobs can give young workers meaningful experience and training, but employers must ensure they follow all federal labor laws,” said Salt Lake City Wage and Hour Division District Director Kevin Hunt. “Employers must also comply with federal laws that protect workers’ rights to their full wages and make sure that young employees’ work experience does not interfere with their education.”
Investigators also said the locations incurred overtime violations by requiring workers to clock out for every break under 20 minutes. This led to employees not being paid overtime when working over 40 hours in a work week.
Hunt said the labor violations at the two St. George Chick-fil-A locations had “costly consequences.”
The Chick-fil-A locations aren’t the first Utah company this year to have been found to violate federal child labor laws.
In March, the U.S. Department of Labor found four Sodalicious shops allowed 14- and 15-year-old teens to work more hours than federal law permits. Sodalicious was then fined $13,946.