WIXOM, MI – The operator of a Culver’s franchise restaurant location in Wixom has paid $13,212 in civil money penalties after federal investigators determined the employer allowed 18 teens – ages 14 and 15 – to work more than federal child labor laws permit.

The investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found Union Pacific Foods Inc. assigned minors to consistently work more than three hours on a school day, more than 18 hours in a school week, more than eight hours on a non-school day, later than 7 p.m. during the school year, and later than 9 p.m. from June 1st through Labor Day. The employer’s actions violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Permitting young workers to work excessive hours can jeopardize their safety, well-being and education,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Timolin Mitchell in Detroit. “Employers like Culver’s who hire young workers must understand and comply with federal child labor laws or face costly consequences.”

In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly 33% of the population between 16-19 years is employed.

From fiscal year 2017-2021, the department identified child labor violations in more than 4,000 cases, finding more than 13,000 minor-aged workers employed in violation.

To assist employers and inform young workers and their parents, the division recently published “Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers.”

The FLSA prohibits 14- and 15-year-old employees from working later than 9 p.m. from 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. Additionally, minors are prohibited from operating motor vehicles, forklifts and using other hazardous equipment or engaging in occupations deemed hazardous by federal labor laws.

In fiscal year 2022, the Detroit district office recovered $2,190,364 in back wages and liquated damages for 2,951 workers in Eastern Michigan.

Founded in 1984, when the Culver family opened its first location in Sauk City, Wisconsin, serving burgers and other fast foods. Today, there are more than 740 Culver’s locations in 26 U.S. states. The company opened its first franchise location in 1990.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

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. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for Android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

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