Amid increased enforcement efforts in the region, the U.S. Department of Labor assessed nearly $17,000 in penalties to a Salt Lake City-based restaurant supply company connected to the polygamous Kingston sect that was in violation of child labor laws, the department announced Tuesday.

A federal investigation found Specialty Consulting Services LLC — operating as Standard Restaurant Supply — allowed 22 employees between the ages of 14 and 15 to work as many as 46 hours per workweek and to begin work after midnight, both of which are illegal practices under child labor laws, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The investigation also found that Standard Restaurant Supply "failed to keep accurate time records including the date of birth for one minor-aged employee," another violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's recordkeeping provision.

In response to the investigation, the division assessed $16,595 in penalties "to resolve the child labor violations."

A year ago, the division's Southwest Region released a reminder to Salt Lake City-area employers reiterating the importance of complying with federal child labor laws and said that it would be "stepping up its efforts to identify child labor violations in the Salt Lake City area."

"We urge employers in the region to gain a full understanding of child labor regulations and ensure they are abiding by the law, or they should be prepared to face costly consequences," Kevin Hunt, Wage and Hour Division district director in Salt Lake City, said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the labor department announced that Utah soda and dessert shop Sodalicious violated federal child labor laws at its Midvale, Orem, Provo and South Jordan locations.

"The division determined that Sodalicious allowed 14 and 15-year-old employees to work past 7 p.m. when school was in session, after 9 p.m. during summer months and more than 3 hours on a school day at four of its Utah locations," the department said in a release.

"Employers like Sodalicious are legally responsible for knowing and complying with federal child labor laws and making sure their employment practices do not jeopardize the safety of young workers or interfere with their education," Betty Campbell, Wage and Hour southwest regional administrator, said in a statement.

In response to the Sodalicious locations violating the fair labor act, the division assessed the company with $13,946 in penalties to resolve the infractions.

The latest investigations by the labor department come after it was revealed in December that 11 Crumbl Cookie locations, including four in Utah (Bountiful, Centerville, Layton and Ogden locations), were in violation of child labor laws.

"Minors as young as 14 and 15 years old not only worked beyond permitted hours but more than half of them were employed in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act by being allowed to work long shifts often exceeding eight hours," Hunt said.

Founded in 1980, Specialty Consulting Services LLC has nine locations throughout Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The company's Better Business Bureau profile lists Ellery Kingston as the president of Standard Restaurant Supply. A 2003 blog post, written by Ellery Kingston, on the Davis County Cooperative Society, a northern Utah polygamous sect often referred to as "the Kingstons" by outsiders, also mentions the company.

In September, 10 plaintiffs, mostly women, filed a 109-page lawsuit against 24 identified and 20 unidentified members of "the Order" — another moniker of the Kingston polygamous sect — alleging rampant abuse and exploitation.

The federal department's Wage and Hour Division in 2022 found more than 3,800 minors employed in violation of child labor laws in the U.S. — an increase of 37% over the previous year, according to the data.

"Our investigators continue to see an increase in child labor violations in several industries. We will take vigorous action whenever we discover young workers' safety and well-being are being jeopardized by employers who fail to follow the law," Hunt added.

Standard Restaurant Supply didn't respond to requests for comment from