Sunday, April 22, 2012
COMPANY PAYS PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF CHILD LABOR RULES
FROM: DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Candyopolis assessed $12,000 in penalties for child labor violations, pays more than $6,700 in back wages following US Labor Department investigations
Various FLSA violations found at 13 candy stores in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has assessed a total of $12,000 in civil money penalties against Candyopolis, a retail confectionary chain in the Midwest, after investigations by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found teens at seven stores were allowed to perform hazardous jobs prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions. The investigations – conducted at 13 stores in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma – also disclosed violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime pay and record-keeping requirements, resulting in back wages totaling $6,737.40 recovered for 275 employees.
Investigators found that three stores in Kansas (two in Wichita and one in Manhattan) and four in Oklahoma (two in Oklahoma City, one in Enid and one in Norman) allowed minor employees to load and operate trash and box compactors in violation of the FLSA’s Hazardous Occupations Order No. 12, which generally prohibits workers under 18 from operating, loading or unloading paper balers or trash compactors.
Minimum wage violations were found at all 13 stores, resulting in $2,048 owed to 256 employees. The violations stem from the company requiring each employee to pay $8 for uniform shirts from his or her first paycheck, which caused pay to fall below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Overtime violations were found at 11 stores in all three states, resulting in a total of $4,689.40 owed to 19 employees. These violations were due to Candyopolis incorrectly classifying managers as exempt from the requirements of the FLSA. Consequently, managers were paid a salary without being paid the half-time due on the overtime hours worked.
Finally, the company failed to keep accurate records of time worked by employees at 12 stores in the three states, as required by the FLSA.
The Kansas stores investigated are located in Manhattan, Salina, Topeka and Wichita (two). The Oklahoma stores are located in Enid (two), Lawton, Norman and Oklahoma City (two). Both of the Nebraska stores are in Omaha. All back wages owed have been paid in full.
“Businesses that employ minors are legally and ethically obligated to abide by child labor standards, and to ensure minors are protected on the job,” said Susana Rincon, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s San Francisco District Office. “The penalties imposed as a result of these violations are indicative of the Wage and Hour Division’s efforts to combat systemic violations found in the retail industry. We are committed to educating employers about wage laws and to enforcing them. The division will ensure that workers receive their fair and rightful wages, and that minors are protected in the workplace.”
Candyopolis is operated by Meetha Ventures of Fremont, Calif. The Wage and Hour Division’s district office in Kansas City, Kan., initiated the investigations and the division’s San Francisco District Office became involved when systemic violations were found because it has jurisdiction over the company’s corporate office.
The FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers in those nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old workers or detrimental to their health or well-being. The FLSA also requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, as well as one and one-half times their regular rates for hours worked over 40 per week. Additionally, accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment must be maintained.