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Chick-fil-A operator found guilty of violating child labor laws

  • Published on
    September 29, 2023
  • Category:
    Child Slavery, Law & Policy
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Two Utah Chick-fil-A locations were recently found guilty of violating child labor laws. The owner and operator of both locations, DM Holding Co. LLC, has been fined over $187,000 for illegally allowing 14- and 15-year-old employees to work longer hours than the law permits and for too many hours in a day. 

Ignoring child labor laws 

When school is in session 14- and 15-year-old employees are restricted by The Labor Standards Act from working more than three hours on a school day, including Friday, or working a total of more than 18 hours per week. When school is not in session, 14- and 15-year-olds can work no more than eight hours per day and no more than 40 hours per week total. But DM Holding Co. LLC ignored those child labor laws for the 230 minors it employed at the two locations. 

A 2KUTV article stated:  

“…federal investigators recovered nearly $47,000 in back wages and “liquidated damages” for 101 employees of the two southern Utah Chick-fil-A locations.” 

These types of child labor violations are not isolated to Utah. Many states are pushing to increase working hours for youth, lower wages, eliminate work permit requirements, and lower the age to work in hazardous industries. 

While Utah is not currently on the list of states considering a rollback, in 2011 Utah Senator Mike Lee gave a speech in which he argued that regulating child labor should be left up to individual states, that it isn’t the role of the federal government. However, instead of fulfilling their role to protect and represent the children, both federal and state legislation is clearly failing youth, as this case and many others underline. 

Need a 10-minute break? Clock out! 

In addition to allowing young teen employees to work too many hours, it was found that DM Holding Co. LLC also required its employees at these two locations to clock out for every break, even those under 20 minutes. That means going without pay for a bathroom break or a 10-minute breath of fresh air. According to The Labor Standards Act “rest periods of short durations, usually 20 minutes or less, are common in the (food service) industry and are customarily paid for as working time,” but not if you work for DM Holding Co. LLC. 

Salt Lake City Wage and Hour Division District Director Kevin Hunt said 

 “Employers must… comply with federal laws that protect workers’ rights to their full wages and make sure that young employees’ work experience does not interfere with their education.” 

Join us in calling on states to protect young workers! 

Today’s young workers, both immigrant and locally born, deserve living wages, fair working conditions and hours that do not disrupt their education or put them in any physical danger. We need better reporting and enforcement mechanisms, not a rollback of existing protections, to ensure youth are not victims of modern slavery.  

Freedom United is calling on states to repeal recent legislation introduced or enacted that rolls back child labor protections and to end these states’ complicity in facilitating the exploitation of children. Join us in calling on lawmakers in these states to use their position to prevent the labor exploitation of our youth and protect young workers.  

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