When it comes to running a business, legal compliance is essential. Federal and state regulations govern numerous aspects of business, and labor and employment. The state often follows the same regulations, and can have variances which is why it is important to keep abreast with both. Often enough, compliance for larger corporations is easier to manage when one can hire dedicated professionals and keep attorneys on retainer to help the business stay up-to-date and in compliance with labor laws. Having said that, a lack of resources doesn’t excuse small businesses from dealing with these important legal issues.
For instance, more recently, the owners of a family-owned business in Sauk City, Wisconsin, are receiving backlash for allowing their children to help inside their bakery. The state is now auditing the business for potentially breaking child labor laws. Generally speaking, the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum age requirements do not apply to minors employed by their parents, or by a person acting as their guardian. An exception to this occurs in mining, manufacturing and occupations where the minimum age requirement of 18 years old applies. However, there is federal law that restricts the employment and abuse of child workers which are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety.
The parents wanted to work in an environment that would allow them to be closer to their children. Since 2016, together with their nine children, they were selling coffee and baked goods. They say the experience taught their children responsibility, work ethic and respect.
But the state Department of Workforce Development must follow state law. Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill to modify the state’s child labor laws. State law currently requires 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain a work permit from a parent. If it becomes law, the bill would eliminate that provision. While the legislation would loosen the state’s child labor laws, the changes won’t help the family anytime in the near future.
The Department of Workforce Development sent a letter to the business on April 4,2017 informing the couple they would be audited, after the department received “several” complaints regarding minors working in the bakery. The letter warned if they continue to allow their children to work, they could be in violation of state child labor laws. The couple immediately stopped allowing the children to work. However, they are seeking to change the conditions of work and feel that they are wronged in that America was founded and built on the mom and pop places that do not exist anymore. A request for equality and non-discrimination amongst businesses is being placed with lawmakers as the concerns were taken to the Capitol.
Our Chicago employment, labor and non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.
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DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle’s Oak Brook, Aurora, and Geneva litigation attorneys have more than three decades of experience helping clients unravel the complexities of Illinois and out-of-state non-compete and trade secret theft laws. Our Chicago business dispute attorneys also represent individuals, family businesses and enterprises of all sizes in a variety of legal disputes, including disputes among partners, shareholders and LLC members as well as lawsuits between businesses and and consumer rights, auto fraud, and wage claim individual and class action cases. In every case, our goal is to resolve disputes as quickly and successfully as possible, helping business clients protect their investments and get back to business as usual. From offices in Oak Brook, near Hinsdale and Lake Forest, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest.