A Utah soda and dessert chain has been cited for violating child labor laws — part of a continuing U.S. Department of Labor crackdown that also caught a Utah restaurant supply company with ties to a polygamous sect.
Four locations of the Utah-based Sodalicious chain — in Midvale, Orem, Provo and South Jordan — were cited for employing 19 teens for more working hours than federal law permits, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division announced in a news release issued Wednesday.
“The division determined that Sodalicious allowed 14- and 15-year-old employees to work past 7 p.m. when school was in session, after 9 p.m. during summer months, and more than 3 hours on a school day,” the division said in its release.
The division said that it assessed Sodalicious with $13,946 in penalties to resolve the infractions.
Under federal labor laws, the department said, children under 14 cannot work in nonagricultural settings. Children 14 and 15 cannot work more than three hours on a school day (including Friday), or more than 18 hours a week when school is in session.
During vacation months, 14- and 15-year-olds can not work more than 8 hours a day, and not more than 40 hours a week.
Sodalicious, founded in 2013 by Annie and Kevine Auering, is known as one of Utah’s custom-mixed soda shops. It has 16 locations in Utah, plus five each in Arizona and Idaho.
On Tuesday, the Wage and Hour Division announced that cited South Salt Lake-based Speciality Consulting Services LLC, doing business as Standard Restaurant Supply, for child labor violations. The division said the company “allowed 22 employees, ages 14 and 15, to work as many as 46 hours per workweek.” It also found that these employees began to work after midnight.
Specialty Consulting Services is part of the Davis County Co-Operative Society — often referred to as the Kingston group.
In 2022, the Wage and Hour Division said it found more than 3,800 minors employed in violation of labor laws, a 37% annual increase.
“Our investigators continue to see an increase in child labor violations, especially in the food service industry,” Betty Campbell, the division’s southwest regional administrator, said in a statement. “Employers like Sodalicious are legally responsible for knowing and complying with federal child labor laws and making sure their employment practices do not jeopardize the safety of young workers or interfere with their education.”