Parents Deny Kids Are Breaking Child Labor Laws By Working At Family's Pizzeria
Connecticut pizzeria wants their kids to be allowed to help.
May 28, 2010 — -- The owners of a family pizzeria in Connecticut are fighting back after the state's Department of Labor began investigating them for allegedly violating child labor laws because the children help out on weekends.
Michael and his wife Migdalia Nuzzo filed a complaint in federal court on May 20 claiming that the Department of Labor was violating their civil rights.
"[The Department of Labor] is attacking my culture, my heritage and my tradition. This is the way we were raised," Nuzzo told ABCNews.com. "I've learned more working for my father than I did at a four-year college where I got a degree in financial accounting."
In his complaint, Nuzzo denied he did anything wrong by trying to teach their children the family business, a 55-year-old pizzeria named Grand Apizza in Clinton, Conn.
"Michael helps me make pizza, and he's an excellent pizzaman just like I was when I was his age," said Michael Nuzzo of his 13-year-old son with the same name.
According to the Nuzzo's complaint, on May 12, a special investigator from the state's Department of Labor came to the restaurant to inform the Nuzzo family that, under child labor laws, their children "could not be seen assisting their parents" in the restaurant.
Connecticut Department of Labor spokeswoman Nancy Steffens confirmed to ABCNews.com that they went to the Nuzzo restaurant after receiving a tip. She declined to go into more detail about who may have sparked the investigation.
"The investigation is still underway and we were basically just providing outreach and education, to notify the family that children under the age of 14 are not allowed to work in a commercial establishment," said Steffens. "You can fine a restaurant but nothing like that was done. We were just letting them know the law."
The case has been turned over the state's Attorney General's office, who said in a statement that they are "carefully reviewing the allegations and facts surrounding the case," but that there has been no enforcement action taken against the Nuzzos.