4 Central Mass. Qdoba Mexican Restaurants Cited for Child Labor Violations

 by Patrick SargentAugust 14, 2019

Four Central Massachusetts Qdoba Mexican Eats locations are among 22 cited across Massachusetts for more than 1,000 child labor law violations.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Maura Healey announced that Qdoba Restaurant Corporation has been cited $409,400 following an investigation by the AG's office after receiving a complaint from a minor employee at the Newton Qdoba location in March 2018.

A review of the Newton Qdoba’s records revealed that minors routinely worked in violation of the law.

An audit of all 22 Massachusetts Qdoba locations showed thousands of violations including minors working too late into the evening and too many hours per shift.

"A young worker’s first job is critical in teaching them about workplace rules, responsibility, and safety,” Healey said. “We remain committed to ensuring that employers understand and follow the rights of all workers across Massachusetts.

There are four Qdoba locations in Central Mass. in Millbury, Northborough, Marlborough and Hudson.

Investigators found nearly 200 instances in which a minor worked more than 11 hours in a single shift, and 18 instances of minors working more than 48 hours in a week. 

Investigators also allege Qdoba’s records show more than 1,000 instances of a minor working later than 10:30 p.m. on a night preceding a school day.

Mass. law states that children under 18 may not work more than 9 hours in a day or more than 48 hours in a week. Fourteen- and 15-year-old children may not work later than 7 PM and 16- and 17-year-old children may not work later than 10 PM on a school night.

On more than 25 occasions, Qdoba also failed to obtain work permits prior to hiring minor employees.

State law also requires employers to have work permits on file for all workers under 18 years of age.

The citations include a penalty of $250 for each violation, which is the maximum penalty allowed for first-time violators of the child labor statute.

The company continued to violate the law into May 2019, more than a year after the investigation began.

Lead photo credit: Lee Bennett on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

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