A Louisville-based franchisee was slapped with a six-figure fine from the federal government, which said it violated child labor laws at 99 Wendy's and Fazoli's restaurants in nine states.
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Manna Inc. was ordered to pay a penalty of $157,114 after hundreds of minors were discovered to be working outside of legally approved hours at Manna-operated restaurant locations in Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division said.
The department said that allowing 14- and 15-year-old employees "to work outside of legally approved hours, and for more hours than allowed by law" violated child labor requirements.
"Child labor laws exist to ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health and well-being or educational opportunities," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils, in Louisville, Kentucky. "We encourage all employers to review their employment obligations and to contact the Wage and Hour Division for compliance assistance."
Investigators say roughly 446 minors had worked before the hours of 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on school nights, worked more than three hours on a school day or worked more than eight hours on a non-school day, all of which are violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the department.
Wendy's and Fazoli's did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment. A phone number and email address listed online for Manna Inc. did not work.
Manna Inc. operates 136 Wendy's restaurants, 84 Fazoli's restaurants, 28 Golden Corral Buffet and Grills, 11 Blaze Pizzas and six Mark's Feed Stores, Louisville's Napa River Grill, Jimmy John's and The Layover Bar, according to the company's website.
The franchising company was started by Louisville businessman and former NBA player Junior Bridgeman. His son, Ryan Bridgeman, eventually took over as the president of Manna.