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SALT LAKE CITY — Eleven Crumbl Cookie locations, including four in Utah, are in violation of child labor laws, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday.
The operators of Crumble’s 11 cookies in six states face financial penalties for allowing young employees — many as young as 14 or 15 — to work longer hours than permitted by law or in dangerous or prohibited conditions.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s wages and hours division found violations affecting 46 workers at some Crumbl Cookies franchisees in California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Utah and Washington, according to a statement from the Labor Department. The violations range from junior employees working longer and longer than permitted by law, to minors operating “potentially dangerous” ovens and machinery.
Whether or not school is in session, 14- and 15-year-old workers cannot work more than eight hours a day or exceed 40 hours in a workweek, according to the release. In addition, employers must not allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day, except from June 1 through Labor Day, when nighttime hours are extended to 9 p.m. All workers are under the age. The Labor Department said 18 people are banned from occupations that federal law considers dangerous.
“Employers must ensure that part-time work does not jeopardize the safety or education of young workers,” Betty Campbell, regional director for wages and hours, said in the release. “It is the responsibility of every employer who hires young workers to understand and comply with child labor laws or they could face costly consequences.”
The department completed child labor investigations at the following Utah Crumpl locations:
- Operator: BE Bountiful LLC
- Affected minors: 9
- Fines: $7,423
- Operator: BE Centerville LLC
- Affected minors: 5
- Fines: $3,624
- Operator: Far Bakeries LLC
- Affected minors: 3
- Penalties: $5,460
- Operator: SBP Investments II LLC
- Affected minors: 1
- Penalties: $1,820
Crumble issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying it was committed to “a safe and welcoming work environment for all franchisees and their employees. We take any violation of federal labor laws very seriously. We were very disappointed to learn that a small number of our franchised locations were found to be in violation of these laws.”
Kremble officials said they are “actively working to understand what happened at these specific store locations and will take appropriate action to ensure all of our franchisees comply with the law. We apologize to any franchise employees who may have been affected by this situation and want to assure the public that we are committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and compliance.” At every Crumble location.”
Earlier this year, Crumple fired the first shot at the ongoing “cookie wars” in Utah, filing a federal lawsuit accusing competitors Dirty Dough and Crave of what it calls “confusingly similar” logos, websites, and other marketing materials. The lawsuit also accused Dirty Dough of copying recipes, alleging that the founder’s brother is a former Crumbl employee.
Claims filed in US District Court on May 10 indicate that Crumbl is seeking triple damages from Crave and Dirty Dough, in the amount the court deemed fair. An amended lawsuit was filed against Crieff on June 29.
In addition, the lawsuits against Crave allege that Crave co-founder Trent English toured Crumbl and even applied for a franchise shortly before launching his own business in 2019.
Crieff filed a response to the lawsuit on June 8, denying that English had applied for the Crumbl franchise or had been denied. It also denies that Crave infringes any intellectual property rights.
The lawsuit against Dirty Dough alleges that Bradley Maxwell, identified as the founder of Dirty Dough, was an operations engineer at Crumbl from March 2019 through June 2019. Through this position, he became familiar with Crumbl’s recipes, methods, and formulas, as well as its brand identity, Allege lawsuits.
He also signed agreements stating that he would not disclose this confidential and inside information at any time during or after his employment, according to Crumpl.
In Dirty Dough’s response to the lawsuit, the company said only that Maxwell worked for Crumbl in 2019 and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
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