U.S. Department of Labor says Sodalicious violated child labor laws

Mar 29, 2023, 3:17 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2023, 9:55 am

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Murray High School ProStart student Photo: Ben Brewer Murray High School ProStart student Jessica Butcher brings in a plate of food for serving a holiday buffet luncheon at Fire Station 81 in Murray, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. ProStart is a national program for students to learn culinary and management skills in anticipation of working the restaurant business or attending culinary school.

SALT LAKE CITY — Four different locations of Utah soda and dessert shop Sodalicious went against federal child labor laws, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. By employing 19 minors and having them work long, non-permitted hours, the USDL found Sodalicious in violation. 

Sodalicious‘ founding members are Annie and Kevin Auernig with 25 different locations predominately in Utah and five locations each in Arizona and Idaho.

The law in question, the one Sodalicious is violating is the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically,  provisions for employing youth in restaurants and quick-service establishments.

According to USDL, Sodalicious allowed 14- and 15-year-old employees to work past 7 p.m. when school was in session. Additionally, after 9 p.m. during summer months, and more than three hours on a school day at four of its Utah locations in Midvale, Orem, Provo and South Jordan. 

“Our investigators continue to see an increase in child labor violations, especially in the food service industry,” explained Wage and Hour Southwest Regional Administrator Betty Campbell in a press release. “Employers like Sodalicious are legally responsible for knowing and complying with federal child labor laws and making sure their employment practices do not jeopardize the safety of young workers or interfere with their education.”

Further, The USDL claims these scenarios have been on the rise. This is allegedly because more minors have been added to the workforce during and after the pandemic.

What are the labor rules?

In general, labor laws prohibit the employment of workers under the age of 14, unless the workforce is agricultural. And, 14- and 15-year-olds can’t work during school hours. They can not work more than three hours on a school day or more than 18 hours per week when school is in session. They can not work more than 8 hours per day when school is not in session. Or more than 40 hours per week when school is not in session.

Finally, they can not work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day, except from June 1 through Labor Day. 

“We hope that employers in the region view this case as a reminder of the importance of abiding by child labor laws and the costly consequences related to violating the law,” Campbell concluded in a press release.

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U.S. Department of Labor says Sodalicious violated child labor laws