McPherson Sonic Fined

The owner of 17 Kansas Sonic Locations was fined nearly $42,000 for child labor law violations. Locations such as McPherson, Newton, and Hutchinson were fined.  The U.S. Department of Labor states, “The employer also allowed them to work later than 7 p.m. during the school year, and later than 9 p.m. from June 1st through Labor Day. All of these employment practices violate child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Teens were allowed to work beyond the legal limits daily in all of these places. 

If you are a teen in these towns you likely have already known of the stories and things that happened to these workers, and if you are a worker it was a real nightmare at times. Ex-McPherson Sonic employee Raina Schmidt details her experience working at Sonic. “I was 15 as an asst. manager working til almost 11-12 most nights when I still had school the next day. Every night I was left alone in charge of the entire store with only 1-3 other employees who also all still under 18 as well.” Raina goes on about how she was lied to about what she was paid 2 separate times and she only found out because she looked it up on the store computer. She was never reimbursed for the difference in pay. “I was instructed to clean/scrub the grill on many occasions and burnt my entire face and neck.” Raina was never compensated for the injuries and had to lie about where they were from when she went to the doctor. She remembers her and other 14 and 15-year-olds working in the kitchen every day up until they left. When the child labor started the investigation Raina was told by her general manager, “I’m not telling you to not say anything but don’t say anything.” Raina and many others worked in horrible conditions with terrible management for so long. Many others and I were not even surprised when they were fined and were all glad it finally happened.

Image- McPherson Sonic website

Featured image- KSNT