News Release

Two companies cited and fined for more than 1,100 instances of overworking teens

November 26, 2019
#19-31

TUMWATER — Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) investigators have cited and fined two companies after finding more than 1,100 occurrences of teens working hours beyond what’s allowed under law.

In separate cases, a Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Woodland (about 20 miles north of Vancouver, Wash.), and the Family Fun Center in Tukwila (about 10 miles south of Seattle), were recently fined for violating hours of work rules involving 15- to 17-year-olds. Both companies paid their fines.

“In my experience, the total number of occurrences is the most we’ve ever issued,” said Josie Bryan, Youth Employment specialist for L&I. “Laws that limit the hours youth work are in place for their safety, and to ensure school is the priority.”

Hundreds of instances of teens working too many hours

The Carl’s Jr., 1519 Pacific Ave., is part of a Eugene, Ore.-based company. L&I’s investigation found that 15 teens, ages 16 and 17, had more than 500 instances of working beyond hours allowed under the law. The company was fined $26,450.

The Family Fun Center, 7300 Fun Center Way, had more than 650 instances of teens working beyond allowed hours. Thirty-three teens, ages 15 to 17, were involved. The company was fined $34,800.

The investigations took place between March and July. According to Bryan, both companies cooperated with the investigations.

Youth work hours

With upcoming holiday shopping, Bryan reminded businesses, parents, and teens to be aware when it comes to the hours youth are allowed to work.

When the school year is in session, there are specific amounts of time, times of day, and number of days in a week that teens are allowed to work in non-agricultural jobs:

  • 14- and 15-year-olds: Three hours/day between 7 a.m.-7 p.m. for no more than 16 hours a week, six days a week
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: Four hours/day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (midnight Friday-Saturday nights), for no more than 20 hours a week, six days a week.

During winter break and other times when school isn’t in session, youth can work longer hours. Details are available at www.Lni.wa.gov/Teenworkers. You can also contact L&I youth employment unit at Teensafety@Lni.wa.gov.

“We want businesses to hire teens, who gain valuable skills and positive experiences,” Bryan said. “Our goal is to make sure young workers are safe, and help businesses comply with the law.”

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For media information:

For media information: Matthew Erlich, 360-902-6508.

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