EDGEWOOD, KY – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Sinkula Investments Ltd. Co. – operator of 10 northern Kentucky Wendy’s franchise locations – has paid a civil money penalty of $16,160 for violating child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigators determined Sinkula Investments Ltd. Co. violated child labor requirements by employing 14- and 15-year-old employees to operate equipment prohibited by law for workers in that age group. Child labor hazardous occupations violations resulted from the minors operating gas ranges, pressure cookers and deep fryers not equipped with an auto-lift feature to lower and raise baskets into and out of hot grease.
Based in Edgewood, Kentucky, Sinkula Investments also paid $11,482 in back wages to 37 hourly employees for violating FLSA overtime requirements. WHD found that the employer failed to include production bonuses in workers’ regular rates of pay when computing overtime. Instead, Sinkula based overtime only on time and one-half the workers’ base hourly rates. Excluding bonus amounts from the calculation resulted in the employer paying overtime at rates lower than rates required by law when employees worked more than 40 hours per week.
“Child labor laws exist to strike a balance between providing meaningful work experience for young people and keeping them safe on the job while not interfering with their educational opportunities,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils, in Louisville, Kentucky. “The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to work to ensure minor employees remain safe on the job and that all workers are paid the wages they have earned. We encourage all employers – especially those who employ minors – to review their employment obligations and to contact the Wage and Hour Division for compliance assistance.”
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos and confidential calls to local WHD offices.
For more information about child labor standards, the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers that discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.