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Pizza time.

It may be time to rethink Chuck E. Cheese's longtime slogan, "Where a kid can be a kid." The beloved birthday party venue was rung up in mid-December 2011 by the Department of Labor (DOL) for violating child labor laws.

The DOL fined nine San Francisco-area pizza parlors a combined $28,225 for allowing 16 underage workers to load and operate on-site trash compactors and dough mixers.

While the Fair Labor Standards Act sets the minimum age for most nonagricultural work at age 14, it prohibits workers under age 18 from performing any nonagricultural duties that the DOL has declared to be hazardous.

"Employers have an obligation to ensure minors are not performing tasks that could be harmful, which is why these child labor rules were established," Ruben Rosalez, acting administrator of the DOL Wage and Hour Division's Western Region, said in a press release.

Chuck E. Cheese agreed to comply with the regulations, and immediately ladled out the dough. Additionally, it instructed its 497 locations to remove keys from compactors, told minor employees not to operate the prohibited equipment and applied stickers to the equipment warning that use by minors is prohibited.

"We're walking the straight and narrow now," Brenda Holloway, a spokeswoman for the company, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Title Annotation:LABOR
Author:Vorro, Alex
Date:Feb 1, 2012
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