Freddy’s franchisee must pay $119K for allowing teens to work longer, later than law allowed

Dive Brief:

  • An Alabama Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchisee was assessed civil money penalties of over $119,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor related to child labor law violations, according to a Monday press release. 
  • The DOL determined that the owner of seven locations employed 149 children under the age of 16 to work longer and later than the law allowed. Investigators also found that a 15-year-old was tasked to operate a manual deep fryer, which is not permitted by law. 
  • As part of its investigation, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor found that children aged 14 and 15 worked more than three hours on a school day after 7 p.m. between Labor Day and May 31. Children also worked after 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.

Dive Insight:

The Wage and Hour Division has been particularly focused on child labor law violations and reported a 150% increase in violations last year compared to 2018, according to the press release. During fiscal 2023, it found violations involving 5,792 children nationwide and assessed over $8 million in civil money penalties against employers. 

So far this year, the DOL has fined operators of Baskin-Robbins; Jersey Mike’s; Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries; Popeyes and Bojangles over child labor law violations. Including Freddy’s, the civil money penalties assessed total over $437,000. Most of the violations related to children working longer than permitted by law. 

“Positive and safe first work experiences can allow young people to develop skills, earn money and learn what it means to be part of the labor force, but a job should never endanger a child’s well-being,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kenneth Stripling in Birmingham, Alabama. “The Fair Labor Standards Act restricts the hours 14- and 15-year-olds can work and identifies dangerous jobs that are prohibited for workers under 18-years-old.”