comscore Department of Labor fines Kauai restaurant for child labor violations, denial of overtime pay | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Department of Labor fines Kauai restaurant for child labor violations, denial of overtime pay

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The U.S. Department of Labor has fined a longtime Kauai restaurant more than $26,000 for child labor violations and recovered more than $11,000 in compensation for workers denied overtime.

The DOL in a news release said an investigation found Tahiti Nui in Hanalei allowed eight minors — some as young as 15 years old — to cook and bake, which employers are not allowed to assign to underage employees under federal law, due to their hazards.

Additionally, the investigation found Tahiti Nui permitted the minors to work beyond hours permitted by federal law, and denied overtime wages to 18 employees that worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

These actions, DOL said, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act covering young workers, which prohibits 14- and 15-year-old employees from working later than 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day — and past 7 p.m. during the remainder of the year.

Additionally, they can only work outside of school hours. Limits include no more than three hours on a school day, including Friday, no more than eight hours per day when school is not in session, and no more than 18 hours per school week.

“As employers expand their use of young workers in food service industry, the U.S. Department of Labor works tirelessly to make certain that they meet their legal obligation to ensure the safety of these workers,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Terence Trotter in a statement. “A job should never jeopardize the safety, well-being or educational opportunities of young workers.”

DOL fined Tahiti Nui $26,355 in penalties for its child labor violations and reckless disregard of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements. It also recovered $11,181 in back wages and other damages for the workers denied overtime.

Tahiti Nui Enterprises Inc. operates Tahiti Nui, described on its website as family-run restaurant since 1963 serving “onolicious food” including fresh-caught fish, salads, pizza, and cocktails, along with live music nightly, in the heart of Hanalei.

DOL offers a toll-free helpline for employees at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

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