COLUMBIA, SC – What began as a child labor investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor at one Arby’s restaurant location in Laurens, expanded to include other restaurants operated by the same business operator who was found to be allowing 65 minor-aged employees to work outside of federally allowed work hours.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigators found that Newberry Restaurant Group Inc. – the operator of 14 Arby’s locations in South Carolina – allowed 14- and 15-year-old employees to work more than three hours on a school day, past 7 p.m. on school nights, and past 9 p.m. after Labor Day, all in violation of child labor hours of work regulations in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The department assessed $47,710 in penalties to address the child labor violations at the employer’s locations in Columbia, Greenville, Irmo, Laurens, Newberry, Orangeburg, Piedmont, Seneca and Walhala.
“Restaurant employers who employ minor-aged workers must understand and comply with child labor laws concerning hours and hazardous occupations,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel in Columbia, South Carolina. “The kinds of violations found in these investigations – and the penalties associated with them – could have been avoided. We encourage employers to review child labor laws and contact the Wage and Hour Division if they have questions.”
This investigation is part of an ongoing cross-regional food services initiative in the Southeast by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. In fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the agency’s Southeast region found child labor violations in more than 190 food service employers investigated, resulting in more than $1 million in penalties assessed to employers.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. 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. Get information about protections for young workers on the department’s YouthRules! website.