In a year-long investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor found that two of the Utah Rush Funplex family fun centers violated several labor laws concerning 14- to 15-year-old employees. These violations included paying below minimum wage and allowing operation of machines such as go-carts and ovens, which are considered hazardous and therefore off-limits according to federal child labor laws.
In a statement given to the KSL NewsRadio by Rush Funplex, the owners fully aided the DOL’s uncovering of records that made them aware of instances of noncompliance that the Syracuse and West Jordan facilities were found to be at fault for. To better understand these instances, The Review interviewed former employee Hallie Moon.
Moon was fifteen when she began working at the Syracuse location. This was her first job, and though she states that the environment itself was fun, the intensity of the workplace mingled with the thirty or more hours she worked a week to create a hard experience. She stated that her shifts could last up to nine hours. The states that minors under 16 cannot work more than four hours per day during the school year or after 9:30 p.m. During these shifts, she would be left on her own to attend to hazardous machines such as the go-carts.
According to Moon, the go-carts and responsibilities of the attraction are especially hard on the underage operators. Moon alleges that another employee who was left to attend the go-carts broke a foot while managing a large gate and had to be driven to the hospital. In another instance, an employee was allegedly not allowed to leave after spraining their ankle while working the same attraction.
The Review also received an anonymous tip about instances of alleged sexism that occurred at the Syracuse location. This same manager, according to the tip, would only allow women to work the front desk and would deny men the chance because they were not female. When asked, Moon verified the allegations, stating, “[Management] definitely did, especially at the front [desk]. Also, one of the departments was a party host and they didn’t really let guys do that either. I never got an explanation as to why, but they were very particular of who could be in a department.”
On the busiest days, she and other employees allegedly were not allowed legally required breaks and, at times, not allowed to use the bathroom. When Moon eventually left Rush Funplex in 2019, she and her father attempted to report the management to the authorities, but without sufficient evidence, they were unable to do anything more.
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