Wendy's settles child labor law violations in Massachusetts

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BOSTON — Hamburger giant Wendy's has paid a $400,000 settlement after allegedly violating state child labor laws at all of its 46 corporate-owned locations across the commonwealth.

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office estimated more than 2,100 violations at Wendy's restaurants in the state. The settlement covers all locations; Wendy's has a location in Pittsfield at 556 Hubbard Ave.

"Employers have a duty to follow our child labor laws and protect their young employees," AG Maura Healey said in a statement. "Wendy's came into compliance as a result of our investigation and took meaningful steps to ensure a safe and productive work environment for its young workers."

The AG's Office began investigating after receiving a complaint from a minor employed at a Worcester Wendy's. The teen alleged that minor employees were working too late into the evening and too many hours per day.

Wendy's International LLC cooperated with the AG's investigation and provided records for several locations that showed the restaurant was in violation of two child labor laws by allowing 16- and 17-year-old employees to work later than the law allows and beyond the nine-hour daily limit.

After the AG's Office informed Wendy's of the probe's findings, the company made changes to its scheduling system to flag minors. They included issuing red visors to all minor employees to indicate to managers that they are under 18; incorporating child labor benchmarks in daily management checklists; and undertaking statewide training and auditing of employees and workplaces.

A national child labor audit and compliance program also was implemented as a result of the AG's investigation.

As part of the settlement, $200,000 of Wendy's payment will go toward education programs for young people about child labor and enforcement, as well as training and workforce development.

In 2019, Healey's office issued 41 citations for breaches of child labor laws, totaling more than $487,000 in fines.

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