A Little Caesars Pizza restaurant franchise in University Place faces $42,000 in fines for youth labor law violations, including allowing teenagers to work too many hours without a rest period on more than 100 separate occasions.
NW Caesars 1 LLC is appealing the citation and fine, which is one of the largest in recent years that the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has issued for a workplace violation involving youth. A hearing date for the appeal will be set in November.
“This is important because meal and rest breaks for teens are mandatory,” said Josie Bryan, youth employment specialist for L&I. “Not only that, but breaks can help prevent injuries on the job.”
L&I’s inspection focused on two of the franchise’s restaurants in University Place — one at 5502 Orchard St. W., and one at 7305 40th St. W.
The agency found there were more than a 100 separate instances of missed rest periods. There were also violations involving minors working during school hours, working past 10 p.m. on a school night, and working with equipment that teens under 18 are not allowed to use.
The investigation covered the time period between December 2017 and February 2018. It was prompted by a tip to L&I that teens at one of the restaurants were disassembling and reassembling a pizza dough sheeter – a machine workers under 18 are prohibited from using. In all, the company was fined $42,050.
The Lakewood-based NW Caesars 1 LLC was cited and fined by L&I for similar violations in 2015, including issues related to teen hours worked, and teen workers using prohibited equipment. L&I consulted with the company about teen workplace issues.
“The law is clear; there are only certain tasks teens can do in the workplace, depending on age,” Bryan said. “Our primary goal is to keep teen workers safe, and make sure businesses are following youth labor laws.”
More information about work requirements for teens is available at www.Lni.wa.gov/TeenWorkers, and simply clicking on “Hours of Work.” There is also information about prohibited duties and teen worker safety.