- Some Crumbl Cookies franchisees violated federal labor laws by scheduling minors outside of legal hours.
- The Department of Labor is fining owners more than $57,000 for the violations.
- Minors are only allowed to do certain tasks and work limited hours in fast food.
The US Department of Labor is ordering Crumbl Cookies franchisees to pay nearly $60,000 in fines for violating child labor laws.
Minor-aged workers at 11 Crumbl Cookie locations in six states employed minor workers who exceeded legal time limits and operated “potentially dangerous ovens and machinery,” the federal agency said in a statement. A total of 46 minors, mostly 14 and 15-year-olds, were impacted in California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. Franchisees were ordered to pay a combined total of $57,854 .
Crumbl Cookies’ corporate office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Crumbl Cookies was founded in 2017 as a single cookie shop in Utah before exploding in popularity, thanks to a savvy social media strategy that drew a dedicated Gen Z fanbase. As of December 2022, the chain has over 600 locations in 47 states operated by franchisees.
The company sells a rotating menu of wide-ranging cookie flavors including frozen hot chocolate, eggnog, and birthday cake. It’s been involved in the contentious “Utah Cookie Wars” since summer 2022, filing active lawsuits against two rival cookie chains which the company claims are selling products “confusingly similar to Crumbl’s established and successful trade dress and brand identity.”
Fast food and quick service chains like Crumbl historically rely on teenagers to staff locations, especially amid a labor shortage. Workers under 18 are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act on what jobs they can do and which hours they can work, with additional restrictions for workers under 16.
Child labor law violations spiked in 2022 with a 37% increase over the previous year, according to the Department of Labor.
The same week that Crumbl was fined, a Chick-fil-A franchisee in North Carolina was ordered to pay $6,450 in fines for allowing minors to operate a trash compactor. In August, a Chick-fil-A franchisee in Tampa, Florida was fined more than $12 thousand for scheduling 14 and 15-year-old workers outside of legally permitted hours. And in early December, a Pennsylvania McDonald’s franchisee was fined almost $60,000 for violations including 101 young teen workers across 13 locations.
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