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Fisher Scones parent company fined for overworking teenage employees

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The parent company of fair staple and fan favorite Fisher Scones has been fined for more than 1,500 instances of overworking teenage employees beyond hours allowed under Washington state law, according to a Dec. 16 announcement from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

Fisher Scones, under parent company Conifer Foods based in Woodinville, specializes in buttery, raspberry jam-filled scones at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, Evergreen State Fair in Monroe and a variety of roaming food truck locations. The company started in 1977.

The citation includes a $45,100 fine, which Conifer Foods has until Dec. 23 to appeal, and includes the most work-hour violations involving minors that the state’s L&I department has ever found, according to a release.

A report of a teen injured while using a commercial-grade mixer started the investigation from August to November 2019.

In all, 78 youths ages 14-15 and 139 teens ages 16-17 were involved in the violations. In total, the L&I investigation found 1,560 instances of teens working beyond hours allowed under law, including 426 violations of teens working during school hours.

“It is imperative for employers to understand that it is against the law for a teen to work during school hours, even in these times with remote learning,” said Josie Bryan, Youth Employment Specialist for L&I. This also includes teens who are homeschooled, attending private school, or not enrolled in school.

The investigation also revealed more than 100 instances of teens missing meal breaks.

“Child labor laws exist to strike a balance between providing a meaningful work experience for young people and keeping them safe on the job,” Bryan said. “The goal is to ensure a youth’s health, well-being and educational opportunities.”

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Olivia Sullivan

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Olivia Sullivan