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Coffee shop chain cited $47,000 for child labor, wage and hour violations

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A coffee shop chain with locations in Leominster and Littleton has been fined close to $47,000 for violating Massachusetts child labor and wage and hour laws with its employees, Attorney General Maura Healey announced last week.

A total of four civil citations have been issued against Delgado Donut Shops, LLC, and Route 13 Donut Shop, Inc., which do business as Dippin’ Donuts, along with owners Fernanda Delgado and her husband Hilario Delgado. The AG’s Office ordered the defendants to pay more than $15,000 in restitution and close to $32,000 in penalties.

“Employers must comply with the law to ensure the health, safety and proper payment of their workers,” Healey said. “Our child labor laws are designed to protect minors by limiting the hours and times they can work. We want to make sure that this business provides its staff with better working conditions and does not interfere with the earnings that they depend on.”

A review of the labor practices at their four locations, including audits of the business’s records, revealed various violations dating back to 2012. According to the AG’s Office, the defendants scheduled three employees under 18 years old after 8 p.m. on 60 occasions and one employee prior to 6 a.m. on one occasion at its Leominster location.

The Massachusetts Child Labor Laws include restrictions on both the occupations in which minors may be employed, as well as the hours during which they may work. It is illegal for minors to work past 8 p.m. without adult supervision.

An audit of the business also revealed that the Delgados did not properly distribute the tips received to employees as required by Massachusetts law. Supervisors, including the owners and managers, allegedly collected money from a tip pool with regular hourly employees.

Management and non-service employees are specifically prohibited from receiving or sharing tips. A review of the Delgados records shows that more than $15,000 in tips were unlawfully retained by management.

The AG’s Office enforces the laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage, overtime and tip and record keeping laws. Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the state’s wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website www.massworkrights.com. Further information about youth employment may also found at www.mass.gov/ago/youthemployment.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Drew Cahill and Investigator Leah Lucier of Attorney General Maura Healey’s Fair Labor Division.