- Seven Little Caesars franchises in Tennessee violated federal child labor regulations by allowing 15-year-old workers to perform prohibited activities, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division said March 31.
- The franchises, located in Nashville and the surrounding area, allowed the teens to prepare food for baking, remove food from ovens and operate a vertical stand-up mixing machine, investigators found. Investigators also found the franchises violated federal child labor rules by scheduling 15-year-old employees to work after 7 p.m., more than 18 hours in a school week, sometimes past 9 p.m., and more than 40 hours in a week when school was not in session.
- DOL assessed the franchises $161,050 in civil penalties. Little Caesars did not respond to a request for a statement before press time.
Federal child labor regulations are authorized by the Fair Labor Standards Act and administered by WHD. The rules prohibit teenagers under 18 from doing hazardous jobs, and limit when and for how long teens can work.
For example, federal child labor provisions generally prohibit minors 13 or younger from working in nonagricultural jobs, except for work that's either exempt, such as delivering newspapers or acting, or isn't covered by the FLSA, such as casual babysitting, performing minor chores around private homes or working for a parent who is the sole owner of a business.
Potential violations are more common than one might think. For example, a store owner employing a 15-year-old to work weekends packing and shelving products could not have the teen help with deliveries to customers, according to WHD. And 14- and 15-year-olds may not ride as a passenger in a motor vehicle to perform any work in connection with "the transporting of, or assisting in the transporting of, other persons or property." A number of other activities are barred due to safety reasons.
And when it comes to scheduling, teens under 16 may not work past 7 p.m. between Labor Day and June 1, or past 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.
Employers may want to brush up on the federal rules. Recent findings show that in some cases, the workforce is increasingly made up of teens. And WHD is paying attention: In 2020 and 2021, investigators in the Southeast found that more than 190 food services employers committed child labor violations, the March 31 announcement said. They were assessed more than $1 million in penalties.