2 Little Caesars in University Place fined $40,000 for youth-labor violations

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. - Two Little Caesars in University Place were fined more a total of more than $40,000 for violating youth-labor laws, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries said Friday.

L&I said the two restaurants - one at 5502 Orchard St. W., and the other at 7305 40th St. W. – allowed teenagers to work too many hours without a rest period more than 100 times. Lakewood-based NW Caesars 1 LLC is appealing the citations and fine. There will be a hearing in November.

"We disagree with this and take our employees safety very serious," the owners said in a statement. "We are appealing the violations and anticipate showing the allegations are not accurate."

L&I investigators also said they found violations involving minors working during school hours; minors working past 10 on a school night; and minors working with equipment they’re not allowed to use.

“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.”

The investigation began after a tip that teenage workers were putting together and taking apart a pizza-dough sheeter, which minors are forbidden from using.

L&I said NW Caesars 1 LLC was cited and fined for similar violations in 2015.

“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.”