News Release

Auburn Jack in the Box owner fined nearly $70,000 for teen worker violations

July 07, 2020

TUMWATER – The owner of an Auburn Jack in the Box restaurant faces nearly $70,000 in fines for working minors beyond allowed hours, and not providing meal and rest breaks as required under law.

It’s the third time the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has cited the owner, Northwest Food Management Group Inc., of Kirkland. The firm operates 28 restaurants and failed to meet a June 25 deadline to appeal the $68,800 fine, which they also haven’t paid.

“We’ve explained the law, and we’re willing to provide training again to the company and its site managers,” said Josie Bryan, youth employment specialist for L&I. “The laws requiring meal and rest breaks help prevent teen injuries.”

In 2019, 673 youth age 17 and under, reported injuries on the job in Washington.

The citation covers June 1-Nov. 1, 2019 and involves the treatment of six teens. It includes more than 260 instances of working the youths beyond the hours allowed under law during school and summer hours; and nearly 400 instances of not allowing teens a required meal or rest break. The restaurant also did not have proof of age or signed Parent/School Authorization forms.

Northwest Food Management previously paid $32,250 for two citations after an L&I investigation at a company-owned Jack in the Box in Kent. Those cases covered the same violations as at the Auburn restaurant, 524 A St. S.E.

In all, the company’s fines total more than $100,000 — among the highest fines L&I has issued for youth employment law violations.

Summer hours

Teens under age 18 can now work summer hours — at least until school begins again this fall. To hire teens, employers must have a minor work permit endorsement on their business license, have a completed Parent Summer Authorization form (school signature not required during summer), and keep proof of age on file.

“Most employers want to do the right thing and we want to make sure they have the resources they need to train staff properly to stay safe in the workplace,” Bryan said. “This includes virus protections.”

More information about work requirements for teens is available L&I’s teen workers website, and simply clicking on “Hours of Work.” There is also information about prohibited duties and how to hire teens.

For media information:

Matthew Erlich, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6508.

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