Local Wendy’s Operator Fined, Makes Labor Changes

POTTSTOWN PA – A corporate franchisee that operates the Wendy’s Restaurant located at 1585 E. High St. (at top) has been fined $15,449 in civil money penalties, and has pledged to take corrective actions, following federal charges that it “endangered” minor-age employees with some tasks, and also permitted them to work more hours than the law allows.

The violations and their settlement, involving Philly LIV Bacon LLC and three other corporations, were announced Tuesday (June 14, 2022) by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The franchisee also operates restaurants in Allentown, Easton, and Whitehall PA, New York, and New Jersey.

A recent investigation by the division determined the businesses:

  • Allowed “15-year-old workers to manually raise and lower fry baskets. By law, 14- and 15-year-old workers may only operate deep fryers that raise and lower baskets automatically;”
  • Permitted 14- and 15-year-olds to work for more than 3 hours on a school day, more than 8 hours on a non-school day, and more than 18 hours during a school week, all violations of federal child labor standards; and
  • Failed to maintain proper records.

The penalties have already been paid, the department said.

The employers operate a total of 83 Wendy’s locations across the three-state area, according to the department, and the findings in Pottstown and elsewhere prompted it to “to initiate an enterprise-wide review of the workplace practices” at all their sites. Now completed, Philly LIV Bacon LLC and the other corporations have agreed to ensure future compliance with federal child labor laws by:

  • Training supervisors and managers on child labor requirements;
  • Providing child labor publications to all current and new workers younger than 18;
  • Establishing an internal phone number that allows workers to report child labor violations anonymously;
  • Providing workers younger than 16 with a different color name tag than those worn by older workers;
  • Posting information about child labor hours’ limitations in a conspicuous place;
  • Placing signage on equipment that 14- and 15-year-old workers are prohibited to use; and
  • Posting a “STOP” sticker on all equipment the department considers hazardous for use by minors.

“Employing young workers offers valuable work experience. That experience should never come at the expense of their safety or education,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Alfonso Gristina in Wilkes-Barre PA. “The actions taken by Philly LIV Bacon LLC will help ensure minors they employ gain the benefits of real-life work experience without putting them at risk.”

August 2019 photo from Google StreetView