Theater Operator Fined for Child Labor Violations

Theater Operator Fined for Child Labor Violations

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Labor has fined theater-chain operator Randall Miller $22,230 for alleged violations of child-labor laws.

Miller, who operates Gateway Cinema in Bountiful, TuCine Theatres in Kearns, Show Case 6 in Taylorsville and 5 Star Cinema in Magna, employed two-dozen 14- and 15-year-olds in violation of child labor laws, the department said.

Youths worked too many hours a week and worked too late at night, the department alleged.

Miller, president of R.M. Management Corp. in Murray, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. His attorney, Ron Barker, said Miller will appeal the fines.

"These are just little guys trying to eke out a living," he said. "An assessment like this could put them out of business."

Children younger than 16 generally may not work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. from Labor Day to June 1. They may work no later than 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day.

They also may not work more than three hours each school day or eight hours each nonschool day. In an entire week, they may work no more than 18 hours when school is in session or 40 hours a week when school is out of session.

The theater chain allegedly allowed the young employees to work later in the evening than permitted under the federal guidelines, to work more than three hours on school days and to work more than 18 hours during school weeks, said Dean Campbell, district office director for the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor in Salt Lake City.

"This employer ought to know better," Campbell said. "During a 1996 investigation, we found the same thing."

At that time the company received a warning but was not fined, he said.

Campbell said child-labor violations are common among Utah retail establishments. But the size of the fine levied against Miller is higher than average and reflects the fact the company was in violation of child-labor laws in a previous investigation.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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