Ruby Tuesday to Pay $158,000 to Settle Claims it Violated State Child Labor and Meal Break Laws
National Restaurant Chain to Pay Civil Penalties to the Commonwealth
BOSTON – Ruby Tuesday will pay $158,000 to resolve allegations it failed to comply with the state’s child labor and meal break laws at multiple locations throughout Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division opened an investigation after receiving a complaint alleging that the national restaurant chain was employing minors beyond the hours permitted under state law. Further investigation concluded that from 2007 through 2009, Ruby Tuesday employed minors outside the permissible work hours and without work permits. The Massachusetts Child Labor Laws include restrictions on both the occupations in which minors may be employed, as well as the hours during which they may work.
“Our child labor laws are designed to protect minors in the workplace,” AG Coakley said. “Employers must adhere to the law to ensure the health and safety of their workers.”
In addition, the AG’s Office also determined that Ruby Tuesday did not allow employees the opportunity to take a 30 minute meal break when they worked six or more hours. Under the Massachusetts Meal Break Law, employers cannot require employees, including managers, to work more than six hours without a 30-minute meal break. During the 30-minute period, employees must be relieved of all duties and must be free to leave the work premises.
In August 2009, Ruby Tuesday enacted corporate wide procedures, including the implementation of management training, new policies and updated computer software, to ensure future compliance with Massachusetts wage and hour, child labor and meal break statutes.
As a result of the settlement agreement, Ruby Tuesday will pay a penalty of $125,000 to resolve allegations it violated the child labor laws and a penalty of $33,000 to resolve allegations it violated the meal break law.
The AG’s Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages, meal breaks, overtime and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. Workers who believe that their rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the AG’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the state’s wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the AG’s Workplace Rights website: www.massworkrights.com. Further information about youth employment may also found at www.mass.gov/ago/youthemployment.
The matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Anita Maietta and Jocelyn B. Jones, Deputy Chief of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division, investigated by Investigator Celina Pendexter, all of Attorney General Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.