Kansas Sonic franchise fined almost $42k for violating child labor laws

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Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:38 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A Sonic franchise operator with locations in Newton, McPherson, and Hutchinson has been fined nearly $42,000 for violating child labor laws.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that BBR Investments LLC, based in Newton, and owner of 17 Sonic drive-in locations in Kansas, violated child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The investigation found that 50 teens, ages 14 to 15 years old, were employed working more hours than allowed by child labor laws. Six were at 621 E. 4th St in Hutchinson, 10 at 910 E. Kansas Ave in McPherson, and 34 at 1215 N. Main St in Newton.

In a press release by the U.S. Department of Labor, it states, “permitted minors at the three of its restaurants to consistently work more than three hours on a school day, more than 18 hours in a school week, and more than eight hours on a non-school day. The employer also allowed them to work later than 7 p.m. during the school year, and later than 9 p.m. from June 1st through Labor Day.”

The division fined $41,998 in civil money penalties for violations at the drive-in locations.

“Federal child labor laws allow for youth employment but specify when and how long these young people can work and what hazardous occupations must be avoided, so their safety and well-being are never compromised. BBR Investments could have avoided costly penalties by making sure they followed the law,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Reed Trone.