Young workers at five Wendy’s restaurants in Pennsylvania were illegally endangered and scheduled to work too many hours, according to federal authorities.
Now the franchisee has been fined $15,449 in civil money penalties following a recent U.S. Department of Labor investigation.
Investigators with the Wage and Hour Division found 15-year-old employees used the deep fryers that required manually raising and lowering fry baskets into hot oil.
Labor laws state 14- and 15-year-old workers are only allowed to operate deep fryers if the baskets are raised and lowered automatically, according to a June 14 news release.
Investigators say franchisee Philly LIV Bacon LLC and three other corporations also violated child labor laws by allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to work over 3 hours on school days and more than 8 hours on non-school days. The teenagers were also permitted to work more than 18 hours each school week.
Philly LIV Bacon LLC also didn’t maintain accurate records, authorities said. These violations occurred at restaurants in Allentown, Easton, Pottstown and Whitehall.
Wendy’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on June 14.
Officials say the Wendy’s employer has paid its penalties and is now working with the Wage and Hour Division to “initiate an enterprise-wide review of the workplace practices at all of their 83 Wendy’s locations in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.”
Philly LIV Bacon LLC and the three other corporations all agreed to:
train its supervisors on child labor requirements
provide child labor documents to current and new minors working for the business
establish a way for workers to anonymously report child labor violations
provide workers under 16 with a different color name tag
post child labor law information where it will be clearly visible
place signs on equipment that 14- and 15-year-old workers are not to use
post “stop” stickers on equipment that is hazardous for minors to use
“Employing young workers offers valuable work experience and that experience should never come at the expense of their safety or education,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Alfonso Gristina said in the news release. “The actions taken by Philly LIV Bacon LLC will help ensure minors they employ gain the benefits of real-life work experience without putting them at risk.”