Wisconsin employers are responsible for knowing and complying with the laws regarding wages, child labor and more. Unfortunately, some employers prioritize their own bottom lines over the health and safety of their workers, violating employment law in the process. An out-of-state restaurant was recently cited for these types of violations and was ordered to pay $55,288 civil penalties.
According the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the restaurant violated multiple child labor provisions. In its state of operation, 14 is the minimum age for employment, yet it employed a 13-year-old child who suffered severe, third-degree burns at work. He had emptied hot oil from a deep fryer and was disposing of it when he tripped. Not only was the boy too young to employ, but the Fair Labor Standards Act — the FLSA — does not permit minors to clean fryers if the oil is 100 degrees or higher.
The investigation also found that the employer had the injured boy and a 15-year-old employee work outside of the permitted time for workers who are younger than 16. The minors were sometimes required to work until 1 a.m. and were frequently scheduled for upwards of 40 or more hours in a single week. The length of their shifts also exceeded limits for minors on both school days and weekends.
An employer should never take advantage of his or her employees, but the sad reality is that this happens to workers more frequently than some might realize. When a worker in Wisconsin realizes that his or her boss is violating employment law, it is important to take action. In many situations it is possible to seek compensation for lost wages, overtime and more.