MN Theater Co’s Fined for Child Labor Violations

Marcus, Regal and Wehrenberg-each of which operates movie theaters within the state-collectively paid $277,475 in civil penalties for allowing dozens of teens to perform hazardous jobs and work longer hours than allowed by law.

The U.S. Department of Labor has fined three movie theater companies that operate in Minnesota, citing child labor violations.

Marcus Theatre Corporation, Regal Cinemas, Inc., and Wehrenberg, Inc., together paid $277,475 in civil penalties for allowing dozens of teens to perform hazardous jobs and work longer hours than allowed by law.

Between the three companies, 160 minors were being required to perform hazardous jobs, like operating paper balers and trash compactors, operating motor vehicles, using power-driven mixers, and baking, according to the department. Marcus also allowed youth to work beyond the hours permitted by law.

Federal regulators said that the violations occurred in 27 theaters located in nine states-including Minnesota and neighboring Wisconsin.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Marcus operates nine theaters in Minnesota-which are located in Duluth, Elk River, Hastings, Hermantown, Oakdale, Waite Park, Rosemount, Moorhead, and Shakopee.

Knoxville, Tennessee-based Regal operates two theaters within the state-Eagan Stadium 16 and Brooklyn Center Stadium 20-and St. Louis-based Wehrenberg operates just one: Rochester Galaxy 14 Cinema.

Federal regulators said that all three of the theaters employed minors to load and operate trash compactors in violation of federal law. Wehrenberg also employed minors to operate motor vehicles. Marcus additionally had minors operate motor vehicles, operate a dough mixer, and perform baking duties-and the company permitted those under age 16 to work beyond the hours permitted under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Of the $277,475 in civil penalties assessed, Regal paid $158,400, Wehrenberg paid $25,080, and Marcus paid $93,995.

All three companies also agreed to implement internal compliance and training programs for employees-and they have agreed to help the U.S. Wage and Hour Division in promoting industry-wide compliance. Regal, for example, is showing a child-labor public service announcement at all 458 of its digital cinema locations in 39 states.

The Fair Labor Standards Act identifies 17 hazardous occupations that are prohibited for workers under the age of 18. It also places restrictions on the hours and times that employees under age 16 are permitted to work.