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Owner of Four NJ Dairy Queens Cited for Child Labor Violations

Working at a Dairy Queen or other fast-food establishment is a rite of passage for many teenagers throughout the United States. However, these restaurants are subject to the same laws as other employers, and their owners can face serious penalties if they take advantage of their younger workers.

In October 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the operator of four New Jersey Dairy Queen franchises violated minimum wage and child labor regulations. The violations affected 23 minors across the four Dairy Queen locations owned by franchisee Konstantine Menegatos. Specific infractions included the following:

  • Excessive hours on school days — Employers must pay attention to the different rules that apply to minors of different ages, as well as the different standard for days when young people should be in school. Workers who are 15 years old or younger cannot work for more than three hours on school days under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • Violation of weekly hour limit for 15-year-old workers — Another rule applying to young teenagers states that, until age 16, employees can only be on the job for a total of 18 hours in any week when school is in session.
  • Late nights in violation of New Jersey law — Between Labor Day and June 1, 15-year old employees cannot work past 7 p.m. This rule is extended to 9 p.m. for summer months. In the Dairy Queen case, some 15-year-olds worked as late as 10 p.m.
  • Failure to pay overtime premiums — Businesses largely staffed by teenagers sometimes break employment laws that are not related to their workers’ age, perhaps because they believe minors would not fight back against the violations. Here, 14 workers did not receive the required time-and-a-half premium for overtime hours worked in a given week.

As a result of the violations, the Mr. Menegatos was fined $23,920. However, many violations of child labor and wage laws go unpunished. If you or someone in your family has been the victim of illegal workplace practices, you should take immediate legal action.

Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack represents New Jersey workers in a wide range of employment law matters and has an exceptional record of success in these matters. For a consultation regarding your legal options, please call 551-245-8894 or contact us online.

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Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

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Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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