4 Northern Va. Jersey Mike’s cited for breaking child labor laws

WTOP's Neal Augenstein reports on why Jersey Mike's has been found to have violated child labor laws in four northern Virginia restaurants.

This article was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

U.S. Department of Labor investigations at four Northern Virginia Jersey Mike’s franchise locations have found the operator allowed more than a dozen employees under the age of 16 to perform dangerous tasks and work longer than permitted hours.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that JM Burke LLC — the Charleston, South Carolina-based operator — violated the Fair Labor Standards Act at locations in Ashburn, South Riding, Springfield and Sterling, according to an agency news release.

The operator is accused of allowing 14 minor-aged children to operate power-driven meat slicers, a hazardous occupation under federal law, the release said.

The division also found JM Burke employed minors to either work more than eight hours on a non-school day, more than 18 hours during a school week, more than three hours on a school day after 7 p.m. between the day after Labor Day and May 31, or after 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day, all child labor violations.

JM Burke paid $108,161 in civil money penalties to resolve its child labor infractions, the release said.

Investigators also identified overtime violations at the Ashburn location, where the employer failed to include bonuses in three employees’ regular rates of pay when calculating overtime wages owed, the Department of Labor said.

The employer also failed to maintain accurate records of workers’ regular pay rates. JM Burke paid $856 in overtime back wages to these affected workers.

“Employers who hire minors are legally and ethically obligated to comply with child labor standards that protect young people from harm,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Nicholas Fiorello said in the release. “In addition to keeping them safe, employers must schedule young workers for times that allow for their education to remain the priority.”

JM Burke LLC has agreed to future enhanced compliance that includes staff training, increased corporate site visits, the creation of a website for reporting violations and investments in technology to monitor internal store cameras to help ensure children are not working in hazardous occupations.

For more information about young workers’ rights and other employee rights enforced by the division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

Editor’s Note: A spokesperson for the Department of Labor tells WTOP the matter was resolved administratively, and Jersey Mike’s paid the civil penalties and back wages to the affected workers. WTOP has also reached out to Jersey Mike’s for comment. 

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