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Mom accuses South Bend Chocolate Cafe of child labor violations

SOUTH BEND, Ind.- It's a place in Downtown South Bend where people go to indulge in comfort food, but behind the scenes employees say their work conditions were anything but comfortable.


The South Bend Chocolate Café on Michigan Street is currently under investigation by the Indiana Department of Labor.


A mom who filed this complaint with the state brought ten schedules into the ABC 57 studios.

She claims it’s proof her teen is being overworked. The owner says that's not the case.


 “They need to understand their children are not getting any breaks,” says Nancy Murton, the mother. “Their children are being overworked.”


Murton, mother of a 16-year-old employee at the South Bend Chocolate Café says it started right when her daughter got the job.


“My husband and I wanted to have lunch with Emily. Emily said, ‘No I don’t get breaks.’”


Murton’s claim is that child labor laws have been violated at this South Bend Chocolate Café location, “She would get out anywhere from 10 to 10:30 on school nights, which I knew wasn't right. She was having difficulty with her homework. And then on the weekends I was picking her up anywhere from quarter to 1, as last as 1 o'clock.”


The rules say in Indiana those who are 16 are restricted to working until 10 p.m. on weekdays and on days not followed by school, the time cap is midnight.


“I Knew that was the law and I knew how long they were allowed to work,” says Murton.


The owner of the company, Mark Tarner tells ABC57 he has been in contact with this mother and doesn’t think any laws were violated.

 He adds he trusts his management at the downtown location.


On Monday, Murton filed a claim with the Department of Labor, which ABC57 confirmed. The director of communications says an investigation is underway after a complaint was recorded, not verified.


The Department of Labor couldn’t provide a copy of the complaint since the investigation is ongoing.


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