Area Dairy Queen operator fined following child labor violations

Second Dairy Queen Coming to Paducah Southside
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Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 10:09 AM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The U.S. Department of Labor says a federal investigation has found that a Fort Wayne-based operator of several Dairy Queen locations in the area violated child labor laws.

The department says a recent investigation found H&H Coldwater LCC, the operator of 11 Dairy Queen franchise locations in Indiana and Michigan, violated child labor laws at 11 of its locations.

They say they found that 102 minors ages 14 and 15 were working in violation of the child labor law that regulates working hours and time standards. They say this took place at the Dairy Queen stores in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Bluffton, Decatur, and Sturgis, Michigan. Officials say the operator agreed to pay $42,572 in civil money penalties by Nov. 14, 2022, for the violations.

“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,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Patricia Lewis said. “Child labor laws protect teens’ health and ensure their first job experiences are positive and manageable with schooling and other commitments.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits 14- and 15-year-olds from working later than 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day and past 7 p.m., for the remainder of the year. FLSA also states that 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.

“Heading to a roadside ice cream stand is a popular outing for Americans of all ages,” the department said in a release. “Working behind the counter at these outlets is a first-time job for many teens. When the hours they work exceed limits set by federal child labor laws, these experiences can serve up violations for employers.”