Nine San Francisco Bay Area Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants have been fined by the U.S. Department of Labor for allowing young workers to operate dangerous equipment
The restaurants were fined a total of $28,000 for allowing minors to operate trash compactors and run dough-mixing machines, a breach of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We all want young workers to develop the skills and experience necessary to compete in the marketplace, but safety must never be sacrificed in the process,” said Ruben Rosalez, acting administrator in the Western region for the Labor Department’s wage and hour division. “Employers have an obligation to ensure minors are not performing tasks that could be harmful, which is why these child labor rules were established.”
The Labor Department said Chuck E. Cheese’s has agreed to pay the civil penalties and will comply with federal law by prohibiting their young employees from operating the machines.
Brenda Holloway, a spokeswoman for Chuck E. Cheese's, said in a statement: “As soon as we were made aware of that, we did correct the deficiencies and paid our fines. We’re walking the straight and narrow now.”
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich recently called child labor laws “truly stupid” and advocated replacing janitors with poor schoolchildren.