Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Nancy A. Walker announced on January 24th that the department has fined GCWen Management, the operator of 21 Wendy’s locations, $300,000 for violation the Pennsylvania Child Labor Act. Overall GCWen was cited for 766 violations of the Pennsylvania Child Labor Act in 2023, including failure to provide more than 80 child employees with breaks as required by law.
The locations involved are in Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties, and include the Wendy’s on Ridge Pike in Conshohocken (Plymouth Township). The investigation was initiated after a tip was received by the department’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation involving minor injuries of children taking place at various Wendy’s locations owned by GCWen.
The violations outlined by the department include:
- 432 violations of failure to provide breaks – the business did not provide breaks on or before the 5th hour of work – involving 81 children.
- 18 violations of not securing a work permit – employed a child who did not have appropriate work papers for children hired to fill a position – involving 18 children.
- 98 violations of failure to announce employment or employment change to a school district – business failed to notify a child’s respective school within five days of hiring a child or failed to notify the respective school within five days of termination or resignation that a child left employment – involving 98 children.
- 10 violations of no parent authorization – the business employed a child under the age of 16 without parental authorization – involving 10 children.
- 208 violations of excessive hours worked – the business violated the number of hours a child can work a week – involving 34 children.
“L&I is dedicated to championing the rights of workers through enforcement of Pennsylvania’s labor laws. This commitment extends to vigorously protecting our children from unlawful employment practices,” said Secretary Walker. “Remember, they are not just workers — they’re our kids — and their safety and rights are paramount. No company should ever put profit over the wellbeing of Pennsylvania’s youth.”
Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Act, enforced by Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance, protects the health, safety, and welfare of children employed in the state. This includes limiting employment in certain establishments and occupations, restricting the hours of work, regulating work conditions, and requiring work permits for children hired to fill certain positions.
The Child Labor Act allows for a maximum fine of up to $5,000 per violation.
As part of the settlement agreement, GCWen management teams at all their Wendy’s locations are required to undergo training provided by department on how to adhere to the Pennsylvania Child Labor Act.