FORT WAYNE – The operator of several Dairy Queen restaurants including Sturgis and Northern Indiana has received a fine.
According to the United States Department of Labor, their Wage and Hour Division conducted a recent investigation of H&H Coldwater LLC, a Fort Wayne based operator of 11 Dairy Queen franchise locations in Michigan and Indiana. It was discovered that H&H Coldwater, violated child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act at all of their locations.
Specifically, the Division found that 102 minors ages 14 and 15 were working in violation of Child Labor Regulation No. 3, which is working hours and time standards. These violations were at the Dairy Queen store in Sturgis along with stores in Fort Wayne, Decatur, Bluffton and in Indianapolis.
H&H Coldwater LLC did agree to pay $42,572 in civil money penalties by November 14 for the nature of its violations.
The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits 14 and 15 year old employees from working later than 9 PM from June 1 through Labor Day, and they can’t work past 7 PM the remainder of the year. In addition, they can not work more than 3 hours on a school day; 8 hours on a non school day or more than 18 hours per week.
Wage and Hour Division District Director Patricia Lewis in Indianapolis says franchisees like H&H Coldwater provide teen workers an opportunity to learn customer services and other skills that prepare for successful careers. But as employers, they have an obligation to ensure child labor laws are followed.
Lewis says child labor laws protect teens’ health and ensure their first job experiences are positive and manageable with schooling and other commitments.
In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that young workers aged 16 to 19 years old comprised nearly 12 percent of the nation’s workforce.
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