The state of Massachusetts has levied a $400,000 fine against a chain of casual restaurants for violating child labor laws.

The state’s attorney general hit Qdoba with $409,400 in penalties on Aug. 14, alleging more than 1,000 violations at its 22 corporate locations throughout Massachusetts.

A review of Qdoba's records by state attorney investigators revealed that minors were routinely working too late into the evening and too many hours per shift, Attorney General Maura Healey said.

The investigation began in March 2018 after a minor employee at a Qdoba in Newton, Massachusetts, complained she had worked late into the evening.

Investigators found almost 200 instances where a minor worked more than 11 hours in a single shift, and 18 times minors worked more than 48 hours in a week.

In addition, Healey said, the investigation uncovered more than 1,000 incidents of minors working past 10:30 pm.on a school night. It also revealed over 25 occasions when Qdoba, which is based in San Diego, failed to obtain work permits before hiring minor employees.

Ongoing Violations

Healey said Qdoba continued to violate child-labor laws into May 2019, more than a year after the investigation began.

Under Massachusetts law, children under 18 may not work more than nine hours a day or more than 48 hours per week.

On nights preceding a school day, children age 14 and 15 may not work past 7 pm, while those age 16 and 17 may not work past 10 pm.

State law also requires employers to have work permits on file for all employees under 18.

The citations include a $250 fine for each violation—the maximum penalty allowed for first-time violators of child labor laws.

"A young worker's job is critical in teaching them about workplace rules, responsibility, and safety," Healey said in a statement.

"We remain committed to ensuring that employers understand and follow the rights of all workers across Massachusetts."

For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).