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Pizza Hut fined $194,400 for violating child labor laws

April 10, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Labor Department has fined Pizza Hut $194,400 for allegedly letting teen-agers operate dangerous equipment like slicing machines and electric dough mixers at restaurants in the New York area.

Federal law prohibits anyone under 18 from operating the machines.

The violations involved 75 minors at 26 Pizza Huts in New York City and its northern suburbs from June to March, the government said Wednesday.

Rob Doughty, spokesman for Dallas-based Pizza Hut, said the company does not use slicers in its restaurants.

``I’m curious why they would say slicers because we don’t have slicers in our units,″ Doughty said. ``We dispute the facts and we are filing a letter of exception today and that will contest the allegations.″

Bruce Sullivan, a Labor Department administrator in New York, said the violations occurred even though Pizza Hut had asked its young workers to sign an agreement indicating they knew they weren’t allowed to touch the machines.

Pizza Hut was previously penalized for child-labor violations involving one restaurant in Pittsburgh and two in the New York area, he said.

On Tuesday, a jury in Seattle that dozens of Taco Bell restaurants _ owned, like Pizza Hut, by PepsiCo _ violated state law by pressuring up to 13,000 workers to pick up trash, prepare food and perform other tasks without pay. Many of the workers were minors.

In South Carolina, 15 workers at Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants have filed a lawsuit alleging they were not paid for all the hours they worked.

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