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Famous hamburger fast-food chain Wendy’s was fined $400,000 for violating child labor laws in its Massachusetts locations.
The Massachusetts attorney general’s office started investigating the matter after a minor working at a local Wendy’s alleged that teenage employees were working for longer hours than allowed by the state. Wendy’s cooperated in the investigation and submitted records to authorities.
Investigators found that the fast-food chain violated two child labor laws by having its teenage employees work later than the law permits and exceed the 9-hour daily limit. Forty-six Wendy’s locations across the state were found to have committed more than 2,100 violations.
According to Massachusetts law, anyone under 18 can only work up to 9 hours a day, or 48 hours a week. Teenagers aged 14 and 15 should work only until 7 p.m., while 16- and 17-year-olds can only work until 10 p.m. on nights before a school day, or until 11:30 p.m. on nights without school the following day.
Convicted offenders will face a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, they may be imprisoned for up to a month. Offenders will also pay penalties of up to $250 for an initial violation, $500 for a second one, and up to $2,500 for subsequent ones.
After the investigation, Wendy’s modified its employee scheduling system. The fast-food chain also gave red hats to its underaged employees to signify that they are under 18 years old.
Half of Wendy’s fine will also be allotted to educating young people about child labor laws.