Candy Store Chain Cited Nearly $40,000 for Wage and Hour Violations Including Child Labor, Earned Sick Time
Chain Locations were in Boston, Dedham, and Somerville
BOSTON – A Massachusetts candy store chain has been cited nearly $40,000 in restitution and penalties for various wage and hour violations including violating the child labor, overtime, and earned sick time laws, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The AG’s Office issued citations totaling $37,363 in restitution and penalties against Boston Total Sugar, LLC, Dedham Total Sugar, LLC and Somerville Total Sugar, LLC (together referred to as “Sugar Heaven”) and the company’s sole corporate officer, David Sapers, for child labor violations, failure to pay wages in a timely manner, failure to pay overtime, and failure to comply with the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law.
Sugar Heaven is a local candy store chain with business locations in Boston and Somerville, and previously in Dedham. Many of Sugar Heaven’s employees are minors under the age of 18. The AG’s Fair Labor Division began an investigation after receiving a complaint about child labor and earned sick time violations.
The AG’s investigation revealed that Sugar Heaven and Sapers regularly violated child labor laws by scheduling and allowing minors to work later or for longer than what is permitted and failing to obtain work permits for minors, as required by law. Employees who were under 18 would regularly be responsible for closing the stores late at night.
Sapers also allegedly violated the earned sick time law, which allows for workers to use earned sick time if they (or their child, spouse, parent, or spouse’s parent) are sick or injured or have a routine medical appointment. Employees were not aware of an earned sick time policy at Sugar Heaven and were required to find a replacement worker if she or he called out sick. No one was paid for sick days and if the employee could not find coverage, she or he would have to appear for work.
The investigation also found that Sapers failed to pay overtime to four employees. The state’s overtime law requires employers to pay qualifying employees time and one half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a work week.
Sapers also allegedly failed to pay several workers their final paychecks on a timely basis and required employees to pay for cash register shortages and mistakes that he alleged they were responsible for.
The AG’s Fair Labor Division has cited Sapers for violations in the past, most recently in July 2016 for failing to furnish payroll records.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace can also 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 www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Scully and Investigator Kevin Shanahan, both of AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division.