Workforce

Dairy Queen franchisee fined $42K for teen-hour violations

The U.S. Department of Labor charged Indiana-based H&H Coldwater with 102 infractions of the limits for 14- and 15-year-olds.
Photograph: Shutterstock

A Dairy Queen franchisee based in Fort Wayne, Ind., has been fined $42,572 for 102 violations of federal limits on the hours 14- and 15-year-olds can work.

H&H Coldwater LLC was charged by the U.S. Department of Labor with allowing the teens to exceed the cutoffs set for those newcomers to the job market.

Persons within that entry-level age bracket are forbidden to work more than three hours on a school day or eight hours on weekends or holidays. Federal law also requires that the youngsters clock out by 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day, or normally when schools are closed for the summer, and by 7 p.m. during the school year.

Eleven of H&H’s Dairy Queen stores in Indiana and Michigan were found to have violated the rules.

In announcing the sanctions, the Labor Department acknowledged the education employers like H&H provide to first-time job holders.

“Franchisees like H & H Coldwater provide teen workers an opportunity to learn customer services and other skills that prepare them for successful careers but as employers, they have an obligation to ensure child labor laws are followed,” said Patricia Lewis, Wage and Hour Division director for Labor’s Indianapolis district. “Child labor laws protect teens’ health and ensure their first job experiences are positive and manageable with schooling and other commitments.”

Last week, Chipotle Mexican Grill agreed to pay $7.8 million to settle allegations leveled by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office that the popular chain had violated the state’s child-labor laws more than 30,000 times at 85 stores. The charged infractions occurred from 2017 to 2020.

Chipotle said it has switched to a new and more advanced labor-scheduling program to ensure compliance with teen-hour limits going forward.

H&H could not be reached for comment.

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