Mar 30, 2023 - Business

Restaurant supply company accused of violating child labor laws

Standard Restaurant Supply's storefront. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

A Salt Lake City restaurant supply company was fined $16,595 by the U.S. Department of Labor after federal investigators found it violated child labor laws.

Details: The business, Standard Restaurant Supply, allowed 22 minors between ages 14 and 15 to work up to 46 hours a week and past midnight, the Labor Department announced this week.

  • It's unclear whether the violations occurred when school was in session.
  • Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 14- and 15-year-olds cannot work more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours a week when school isn't in session.
  • During the academic year, 14- and 15-year-olds are prohibited from working more than three hours a day on a school day or more than 18 hours a week when school is in session. During the school year, they cannot work past 7pm.

Between the lines: Ellery Kingston is the company's president and Eric Kingston serves as business director, public records show.

Of note: Standard Restaurant Supply and the Davis County Cooperative Society did not return Axios' requests for comment.

What they're saying: "Our investigators continue to see an increase in child labor violations in several industries," Kevin Hunt, district director of the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement. "We will take vigorous action whenever we discover young workers' safety and well-being are being jeopardized by employers who fail to follow the law."

The big picture: The penalty comes nearly a year after the Labor Department's Southwest Region Division announced it would boost enforcement efforts in Salt Lake City.

  • Meanwhile, the Labor Department said this week it hit another Utah-based business, Sodalicious, with a nearly $14,000 penalty for allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to work past 7pm during the school year at four of its locations.
  • Sodalicious CEO Kevin Auernig told Axios he was previously under the impression that age group could work past 7pm on a school day under state child labor code.
  • After resolving the matter with federal investigators last summer, Auernig said the company no longer employs anyone under age 16.

Zoom out: The Biden administration last month announced it would crack down on such violations following a New York Times investigation into the use of migrant child labor as companies struggle to fill jobs amid a worker shortage.


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