The Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell is facing a penalty of more than $17,000 after the Maine Department of Labor found that it had engaged in nearly 700 child labor law violations over a two-year period.
The restaurant was found to have violated child labor laws at least 691 times, most of which involved overscheduling employees under the age of 18, along with a handful of violations for employing workers under the age of 16 without permits, according to the Kennebec Journal.
The establishment was initially asked to pay $172,750 to the Department of Labor, but that penalty was reduced by $155,475 in an agreement that owners Steven and Anne Lachance would adhere to a settlement and commit no additional violations.
Of the 691 violations, 520 of them were attributed to workers under the age of 16. Those violations were likely scheduling related, as minors cannot work more than 40 hours a week or eight hours a day when school isn’t in session.
A variety of other stipulations apply to workers under the age of 16, including that they are prohibited from working more than 18 hours a week or three hours a day when school is in session; more than six consecutive days; or between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., except during summer vacation, during which the law prohibits work between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The Maine DOL also found that the restaurant employed five minors younger than 16 who did not have work permits, resulting in 78 citations. At least 62 of those violations stemmed from a worker under the age of 16 who was employed between Aug. 20, 2020 and July 20, 2021, according to the Augusta newspaper.
“A lot of this is a systemic problem with the schedule,” Lachance told the Kennebec Journal. “It didn’t really show its head until there was an actual investigation.”
The violations occurred over nearly two years, with the earliest being on May 18, 2020 and the latest on April 23, 2022.
A total of 514 child labor violations occurred throughout Maine last year, according to the Maine Department of Labor.