Jessica Mathews /

The operator of the Culver’s restaurant in Wixom has been fined after a federal investigation found violations of child labor laws.

The operator of the franchise location 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 7pm during the school year, and later than 9pm from June 1st through Labor Day.

Timolin Mitchell is the Wage and Hour Division District Director in Detroit. He commented that permitting young workers to work excessive hours can jeopardize their safety, well-being and education. 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.

The Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA prohibits 14 and 15-year-old employees from working later than 9pm from June 1st through Labor Day and past 7pm for the remainder of the year. 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.

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