A federal investigation into the child labor violations found that 11 operators in six states allowed young employees, “many 14 and 15 years of age,” to work more than the law permits or in “hazardous or prohibited occupations,” a press release states.
The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division says it found violations affecting 46 workers at Crumbl Cookies’ locations in California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. The violations ranged from employing some minor-aged employees to work longer and later than the time the law allows, to “assigning others to operate potentially dangerous ovens and machinery,” a release from the agency reads.
The division reportedly assessed $57,854 in penalties to resolve the child labor violations.
“Employers must ensure that part-time employment does not jeopardize the safety or education of young workers,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Betty Campbell in Dallas. “It is the responsibility of every employer who hires minor workers to understand child labor laws, and comply with them or potentially face costly consequences.”
The division completed child labor investigations at these Crumbl locations:
Regardless of schooling, 14 and 15-year-old workers cannot work more than 8 hours per day or exceed 40 hours per workweek, according to federal law. Additionally, employers “must not allow these workers to work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on any day, except from June 1 through Labor Day, when nighttime work hours are extended to 9:00 p.m.,” the Labor Department explains.
All workers under the age of 18 are banned from occupations considered hazardous by federal law.
In a statement to Nexstar’s KTVX, Crumbl Cookies said it is “committed to maintaining a safe and welcoming work environment for all our franchisees and their employees.”
“We take any violation of federal labor laws very seriously. We were deeply disappointed to learn that a small number of our franchised locations were found to be in violation of these laws,” the statement continued. “We are actively working to understand what has occurred at these specific store locations and will take appropriate action to ensure that all of our franchisees are fully compliant with the law. We apologize to any of our franchisees’ employees who may have been affected by this situation and want to assure the public that we are committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and compliance at every Crumbl location.”
Crumbl Cookies currently operates more than 600 locations in 47 states.
The news comes after a recent trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Crumbl Cookies against two of its competitors, Dirty Dough and Crave Cookies, claiming that the two franchises copied numerous elements of Crumbl’s branding, including presentation and weekly flavor rotation.