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News / Business / Clark County Business

Vancouver trampoline park SkyZone fined 22K for overworking teen employees

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 22, 2024, 3:10pm

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries cited Vancouver’s popular SkyZone trampoline park after finding about 45 of the company’s teenage employees didn’t receive meal breaks and worked more hours than legally allowed.

The department previously issued the $22,000 citation and gave SkyZone until Feb. 15 to appeal it or pay the fine. The company didn’t do either by the deadline, so the department will now work to collect funds, according to a Thursday news release.

“During the school year, students’ priority should be the classroom,” said Suzanne Dover, youth employment specialist at the state Department of Labor & Industries. “The law is meant to help students maintain that priority. It’s up to the employer to make sure they’re carefully managing their young workers and following state requirements.”

A spokesperson for SkyZone said in a statement Thursday the company has multiple protocols in place to ensure workforce and labor law compliance. The company requires proof of age, and keeps detailed records of valid, renewed work permits every school year, the spokesperson said.

“As a result of this specific report, we fully cooperated with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries to complete their required training and pay fines in full,” the spokesperson added. “We remain committed to ensuring the safety, protection, well-being of our employees.”

Labor & Industries’ investigation, from Feb. 15 to May 15, 2023, found 43 teens at the trampoline park didn’t receive a meal break after five hours of consecutive work, as required by law, on more than 250 occasions. The investigation also found about the same number of teen employees, all 16 to 17 years old, worked more hours than legally allowed during school months on about 350 occasions.

State law says 16- and 17-year-olds can only work up to four hours on a school day and no more than 20 hours during a school week.

Local high schools brought the complaint against SkyZone to the state Department of Labor & Industries.

SkyZone, owned by Los Angeles-based SZ Orland Park and Jeff Pratt, is part of a franchise with about 200 parks nationwide.