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Friday PM headlines: Two Chick-fil-A locations fined for child labor violations

Someone off-camera holding up a Chick-fil-A bag.

Two Utah Chick-fil-A locations fined for child labor and overtime violations

Two southern Utah Chick-fil-A locations have been fined over $187,000 for violations of child labor laws and denied overtime.

The two St. George locations, owned and operated by DM Holding Co. LLC, employed 237 minors in violation of child labor laws. According to federal investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor, violations included illegally allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to work past legal hours and for too many hours in one day.

The Labor Standards Act requires 14- and 15-year-olds to only work outside school hours for no more than three hours on a school day or eight hours on a non-school day. They can also only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. except between June 1 and Labor Day, when they can work until 9 p.m.

Investigators also found overtime violations. The locations reportedly required workers to clock out for every break under 20 minutes, which led to employees not being paid overtime when working over 40 hours in a work week.

In total, the Chick-fil-A locations were fined $187,467 with $47,000 in back wages and liquidated damages.

This comes after four Sodalicious shops were fined in March for allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to work more hours than permitted by federal law. Sodalicious was fined $13,946.

Utah’s national parks to remain open during government shutdown

Utah’s national parks will remain open during a federal government shutdown, according to Gov. Spencer Cox’s office, despite the U.S. Department of Interior announcing national parks across the country would close.

Both the governor and legislative leadership have voiced support for dipping into state funds to keep the state’s national parks open, which would help protect rural community economies centered around the parks. The Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity has already set aside $5 million for this purpose.

In their statement on Friday, the U.S. Department of Interior said parks could make arrangements with third parties like state, local or tribal governments to keep parks and park services going. Utah’s Office of Tourism plans to give funding to foundations affiliated with national parks, who will transfer those funds to the parks to underwrite essential services like visitor centers and trash pickup.

According to the Department of Interior, the National Park Service can’t reimburse third parties that provide donations for such services. However, Gov. Cox has said the state should be repaid when the shutdown is over.

Rare decision finds school district violated disabled student’s rights

In a rare decision, Davis School District was found to have violated a student’s right to free appropriate public education, a legal right requiring schools to meet special education needs for each individual disabled student.

Due process hearings for this kind of case are expensive, and a limited number happen each year, with hearing officers more commonly siding with the district rather than the student. According to the family's lawyer, this is only the third in the last 17 cases that found the student's rights had been violated.

Last November, a student at North Davis Jr. High with a variety of behavioral and mental health issues, said in a meeting with a school counselor that “some days he feels like he would like to just go kill a lot people and then kill himself.” The district viewed this as a threat and transferred him to Renaissance Academy, where students go if they’ve committed a safe school violation.

The student’s parents say he has no history of violence and it was an outburst caused by the disorder. The district also refused to meet with them to discuss the transfer.

A hearing officer with the Utah State Board of Education determined the district “overreacted to the threat” and had failed the student’s right to Free Appropriate Public Education by ordering him to go to another school while refusing to meet with his parents.

The district says it will continue working on balancing student rights and the rights of school safety, and that they’ve learned they have a responsibility to provide access for parents to raise questions.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.