ALLENTOWN, PA – A Wendy’s restaurant franchisee who endangered minor-aged workers and permitted them to work more hours than the law allows at five Pennsylvania locations has taken steps to correct those violations, and to ensure future compliance at all of the restaurants it operates in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.
A recent investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations at locations in Allentown, Easton, Pottstown and Whitehall operated by Philly LIV Bacon LLC and three other corporations. The violations include allowing 15-year-old workers to manually raise and lower fry baskets. By law, 14- and 15-year-old workers may only operate deep fryers that raise and lower baskets automatically.
Investigators also found the employer permitted 14- and 15-year-olds to work for more than 3 hours on a school day, more than 8 hours on a non-school day and more than 18 hours during a school week, all violations of federal child labor standards. Philly LIV Bacon LLC also failed to maintain proper records, the division found.
The division assessed $15,449 in civil money penalties for the violations, which the employer has paid.
Prompted by the investigation’s findings, the employers began working with the 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. Following the review, Philly LIV Bacon LLC and three other corporations have agreed to ensure future compliance with federal child labor laws by doing the following:
Training supervisors and managers on child labor requirements.
Providing child labor publications to all current and new workers under age 18.
Establishing an internal number that allows workers to report child labor violations anonymously.
Providing workers under the age of 16 with a different color nametag than those worn by older workers.
Posting information about child labor hours’ limitations in a conspicuous place.
Placing signage on equipment that 14- and 15-year-old workers are prohibited to use.
Posting a “STOP” sticker on all equipment the department considers hazardous for use by minors.
“Employing young workers offers valuable work experience and that experience should never come at the expense of their safety or education,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Alfonso Gristina in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. “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.”
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.
“Employers who fail to ensure workers are safe and paid their full wages and benefits will find it increasingly more difficult to recruit and retain the people they need to be successful,” Gristina added. “Employers who hire minors must know the regulations that govern this practice. As the end of the school year fast approaches, employers should review child labor laws and contact the Wage and Hour Division if they have questions.”
For more information about young workers’ rights and other laws enforced by the division, contact its 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.