GAINESVILLE, VA – For 17-year-old drivers, the Centers for Disease Control cites inexperience, distracted driving, and night and weekend driving as factors that place them among those with the highest risk for motor vehicle crashes. Putting drivers this age behind the wheel to make “as soon as possible” deliveries also violates federal child labor laws, a fact ignored by the operators of a Virginia pizza restaurant.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has found Pizza Margherita Inc. NY – operating as Pizza NY Margherita in Gainesville – employed six 17-year-old minors to work as delivery drivers. The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits minor employees from driving a motor vehicle to make urgent, time-sensitive deliveries.
The employer paid a civil money penalty of $11,052 as result of the investigation, which also noted an overtime violation for one affected employee.
“Employing a minor to operate a motor vehicle to make food deliveries not only endangers the driver, it also puts other drivers at an increased risk for collisions. Fortunately, the worst-case scenario did not occur in this instance, however, we hope this action reminds employers in the industry of the rules related to youth employment, especially in light of the rise in demand for food deliveries during the pandemic,” said Wage and Hour District Director Nicholas Fiorello in Baltimore.
The FLSA establishes both hours and occupational standards for minor employees. Children under age 18 may not be employed in any occupation the Secretary of Labor has declared to be hazardous. Employers must follow these rules unless a specific exemption applies.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by agency, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.