The U.S. Department of Labor fined several of Chuck E. Cheese's franchises in the San Francisco Bay Area more than $28,000 for allowing teenage employees to operate heavy machinery. The equipment included on-site trash compactors and, in the case of two minors, a dough-mixing machine, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Parent company CEC Entertainment's excuse? Managers at the Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants were unaware that warning stickers were required on the machinery.
The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits minors (under the age of 18) from working in manufacturing, mining or performing any “hazardous jobs.” And because of CEC Entertainment's internal messaging snafu, Chuck E. Cheese's now has a reputation for breaking child labor laws—not necessarily the sort of place you'd want to visit with the kids.
CEC Entertainment, to its credit, moved swiftly when learning of the fines—not that it had much choice. “As soon as we were made aware of [managers not knowing about applying warning labels to heavy machinery], we did correct the deficiencies and paid our fines,” a CEC Entertainment spokesperson told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re walking the straight and narrow now.”
CEC Entertainment is now instructing underage employees to not operate heavy machinery, and has placed stickers on machines warning that use by minors is prohibited.