The U.S. Department of Labor has assessed a total of $12,000 in civil money penalties against Candyopolis this week.
An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found teens at seven of the retail candy stores, including the Manhattan store at Town Center Mall, were allowed to perform hazardous jobs prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) child labor provisions.
Three stores in Kansas, including two in Wichita, allowed minor employees to load and operate trash and box compactors in violation of a the FLSA’s Hazardous Occupations Order No. 12, which prohibits workers under 18 from operating, loading or unloading paper balers or trash compactors.
The manager of Manhattan’s Candyopolis was not available for comment Wednesday morning.
Investigations—conducted at 13 stores in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma—also disclosed violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime pay and record-keeping requirements, resulting in back wages totaling $6,737.40 recovered for 275 employees.
All 13 stores including, the Manhattan location, were guilty of minimum wage violations, resulting in $2,048 owed to 256 employees. The violations stem from the company requiring employees to pay $8 for uniforms from their first paycheck. It caused the pay to fall below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Overtime violations were found at 11 stores in all three states. However, it was not readily apparent if the Manhattan location was one of the 11 stores. The violations resulted in $4,689 owed to 19 employees. The company also failed to keep accurate records of time worked by employees at 12 stores in all three states. It was also not apparent if the Manhattan location was one of the 12 stores.
“Businesses that employ minors are legally and ethically obligated to abide by child labor standards, and to ensure minors are protected on the job,” Susana Rincon, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s San Francisco office, said in a statement. “The penalties imposed at a result of these violations are indicative of the Wage and Hour Division’s efforts to combat systematic violations found in the retail industry.”
Candyopolis is operated by Meetha Ventures of Fremont, Calif.