The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries says on 260 occasions the owner of the Auburn Jack in the Box, 524 A St. S.E., worked teens beyond the hours allowed under law during school and summer hours, and on 400 occasions did not allow them a meal or rest break.
Now L&I is asking Northwest Food Management Group Inc., of Kirkland, operator of 28 restaurants, to fork over $70,000 in fines for those and other alleged violations, such as not having proof of age or signed parent/school authorization forms.
It’s the third time L&I has cited the firm, which failed to meet a June 25 deadline to appeal the $68,800 fine, which it also has not 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 kids age 17 and under reported on-the-job injuries in Washington state.
The citation for the Auburn location covers June 1-Nov. 1, 2019, and references the treatment of six teens.
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.
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 by clicking on “Hours of Work.” There is also information about prohibited duties and how to hire teens.