Qdoba Restaurants Fined More Than $400K for Child Labor Violations

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

August 28, 2019

The Massachusetts attorney general has levied about $400,000 in penalties against the 22 corporate-owned Qdoba restaurants in the state for more than 1,000 child labor law violations. The fines followed more than a year of investigation that revealed minors routinely worked in violation of the law.

The AG Office began its investigation in March 2018 following a complaint by a minor employee alleging that she had worked late into the evening at a Qdoba store. Like every other state, Massachusetts regulates the hours that minor employees may work.

An audit of all 22 Massachusetts Qdoba locations showed thousands of violations including:

  • More than 1,000 instances of a minor working later than 10:30 p.m. on a night preceding a school day;
  • Almost 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.

In addition, the AG Office's investigation found more than 25 instances where Qdoba failed to obtain required work permits before hiring minor employees. Violations continued into May 2019, more than a year after the investigation started.

Each violation by a first-time violator carries a maximum fine of $250. In all, Qdoba was cited $409,400 in penalties.

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