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May 27th, 2010
08:06 AM ET

Child Labor Overkill?

Most parents expect kids to help around the house, but what about with the family business?
A Connecticut man said his three children - ages 13,11, and 8– helped out at the family pizza restaurant on weekends.
But the state labor department says he’s violating child labor laws.
The father says he learned the family business from his dad the same way years ago, and it’s about family tradition.
He has since filed a lawsuit against the state.
The Attorney General’s office is looking into the lawsuit.

So what do you think about the case, is it a violation of child labor laws, or just your average family business?
Post your comments here. Fredricka will read some of them on the air in the 10am ET hour of Newsroom.

soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    I was part of a family of 9 children 5 boy's and 4 girls all the boys grew up working in my fathers furniture store starting at age 7 my two oldest brothers were T.V. repairman I was an Appliance repairman and my 2 younger brother's were stereo repairman all my sisters were not involved but theres some things the government should keep there nose out of and that's a family trying to make end's meat to survive yes it was hard work but we all learned a trade .

    May 27, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  2. Butch from Southgate

    When I was a young guy (many years ago) I worked on my grandfathers farm. One grandfather owned a dairy farm and the other raised pheasants for release. I carried hundred pound bags of grain and threw bales of hay onto the wagon. I shoveled the gutters out in the barn and fed and grained the cows. I also mowed lawns and painted houses and ran errands. It was hard work but it provided me the idea that work won't kill you and it does give you experience. I didn't have to ask my family for money and it gave me money to spend.

    When i was a young adult, we my wife and I opened a restaurant and it was very successful. We worked hard and our children were right there beside us working. My daughter grew up to graduate from one of the best colleges in the nation and become a very successful newspaper eidtor. My son is now an engineer. Both of my children worked their way through college and both of them work hard every day.

    The presumtion that work will somehow injure children in some way is just plain hogwash. The state labor department needs to join the rest of us who work for a living. They obviously have nothing to do with their time but harass good hardworking people. Just who do they think they are protecting? Are they going to be traumatized because they have to work under their parents supervision? Hogwash!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  3. Charlie from West Virginia

    I see no problem with this. This is not child abuse, nor should it violate labor laws, as the kids are not actually employees (at least until they are old enough to get "Working Papers" and draw a salary). A family business is part of family life, and children need to be involved. It teaches responsibility, work ethic, and it creates an interest in business, which might carry through for them to take over the business, go off and start their own business, or just help with future employment elsewhere.

    Children being involved in a family business helps to keep the family unit stronger. It also allows the parent(s) to spend more time with their kids. This has been the norm for as long as I can remember, and probably since family businesses first existed. Mom and Pop businesses especially need as much help from family, as possible.

    I recall having my first "job", back in Brooklyn during the 50's, when I was seven. A local grocery store owner who really liked me, and knew of my family's problems let me work, to get me off the streets during the summer. I got paid $7 per week, ate lunch for free at the store, and he gave me a quart of milk and a soda to take home every night. My family was extremely poor, so it was a great help, and I learned a few things along the way. He never worked me hard, or talked down to me. I'll never forget that......or him. His name was Larry and he was a Cuban immigrant, who worked hard and did well for himself and his family. He was good for the neighborhood also.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  4. 99dgee

    We have far too many in this country that know full well how to take advantage of the system, but wouldn't know work if it landed in their lap. Teach the children how to work and they will be productive members of society. The State needs to back off.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  5. Paul

    Kids have to grow up sometime. As long as the job isn't dangerous or harsh, it should be up to the employer to decide if they want to take on the risk of employing a teenager or such.

    Setting an arbitrary age just doesn't make sense. There's some 10 year olds more mature than some 30 year olds.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  6. Marleen

    Family Business and a very healthy look at "real life" for the children. The family that plays together, stays together and the same holds for the family that works together.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  7. Larry

    I started working with my father when I was 11. He taught me the value of an honest days work which served me well as I worked my way thru college and graduated debt free. Many of my counterparts are still paying off student loans 15 years later.

    Leave this family alone

    May 27, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  8. Ben

    The state is morally wrong in this case. These people are attempting to teach an element of their culture and their family heritage to their children and the state has no business regulating anyone's culture or heritage. I hope they win their case and even if they don't, I hope they still pass on their tradition to the kids. What could be more American?

    May 27, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  9. lisa

    i think its a family teaching their children a family business and work ethics and responsibility. i guess connecticut wants kids to stay home and play video games and watch tv instead of learning how to be a responsible future adult.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  10. james smith

    This is just another breakdown of our present society kids grew up working with their dad in the family business (muffler shop) and one now owns his own business, one is a minister "with the skill to run a muffler shop" if he should choose that, and the other one, girl, has and continues to hold a good job bookeeping--all thanks to what they learned working for Dad.
    Kids today aren't allowed to go to work with their family...what a loss!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  11. Jo Samuel

    Our government agencies need to get real. Everything does not have to be rocket science. Let those children work, learn not only the family business but something about discipline and responsibility along the way. All of which is sadly lacking in these United States lately.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  12. Alex Ward

    Should it not be up to the kids? They are working for their father and are clearly not being forced to work – they have a choice. Plus, in an age where families do not do much stuff together anymore, is not nice that a family gets to spend their weekends together doing something in concert? If the kids want to do it, let them do it – its for their family. It does not make sense to start digging into what families can do together.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  13. Derrick

    It seems to me that, this is a case of the state taking rights away from parents. It should be up to those parents whether there children can work in the restaurant or not. It isn't the same thing as those children going off and working for other people without there parents. If they work in the family restaurant they are under there parents supervision.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  14. Nana

    Tradition has been lost in today's culture . As an American of Italian descent I am proud of the Nuzzo family for maintaining tradition.
    We as a society need to pay more attention to those parents who are teaching their children how to live off the government by collecting benefits they don't deserve and who are physically and emotionally abusing their children.
    Bravo Nuzzo Family!!!!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  15. NT

    Brilliant. Our country was built on family run businesses. Good work government. What's next, going to every farm to make sure every kid there doesn't milk a cow? Visiting every home in America to make sure no kid mows a lawn for $10?

    May 27, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  16. Michael Magee

    I do not see the problem if it is a family business and they are giving their children valuable knowledge. Is does not appear to me that these children were being overworked or being put in harm’s way. Sometimes government employees overstep their bounds and they should go back to their office and find people committing REAL crimes.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  17. Mike Schumer

    While child labor laws are designed to protect children from employers, those employers are usually not family members. Like anything else flexibility is key. Would it be OK for a parent to work their child 12 hours a day in their home lets say ironing , doing wash etc? What's the difference? I'm a democrat and I believe Government has it's rightful place in protecting the welfare of children. This however needs to be reviewed and reconsidered.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  18. Dave

    I commend these parents. My Dad taught me that you give what you get. These kids are learning the most valuable lesson in life,..responsibility. It's a great thing that these children are being taught this wonderful lesson in life at such an early age. Just think, by the time they hit college, they will all have an incredible work ethic, and have their wonderful parents to thank for it! If they are found to be in violation....I say find a loophole.
    What's next, preventing my 12 year old from mowing our lawn?

    May 27, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  19. Brian

    This is overkill!! iam 26 yrs old and i help and worked with my father since i was 9 yrs old in construction. It taught me lessons on how to earn money and i believe this is an example of government overkill.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:47 am |

    This is a case of family values and as long as children are not being mistreated, it is up to the parents where and how they spend thier time. I'm on the parents side on this one. If the child is being paid, and that's the problem, just stop giving them a paycheck and provide them an allowance. GIVE ME A BREAK! Thumbs up to the parents! The worst part about this story is that we (the taxpayers) are fronting the bill on this nonsense and could likely be the ones paying the suit.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  21. Skipg

    I would much rather see children woking in their parents small buisness, being taught responsibility and the value of a good work ethic, than be at home unsupervised, playing video games, or worse.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  22. s jacob

    Does'nt the state have anything better to do .This family is teaching work ethics and tradition , and I commend .It is the same as making kids help you in your house work .If not ,then they probably would watching TV or playing video games , eating junk food and getting fat .Parents know how to raise their kids

    May 27, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  23. Paul Huckabone

    What's this? Parents passing on a marketable skill to their offspring and then imposing upon them the value of a work ethic? I bet they force those kids to go to school and pressure them into applying themselves there too...CRIMINALS! (That pizza looked pretty good.)

    May 27, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  24. Karen

    This is a family business for God's sake. This is another example of the government finding the EASY thing to go after and leaving the really crimminal things that should be taken of alone.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  25. Judy Curtis

    I think this is just a family trying to teach their children responsibility and a good work ethic. I have two boys. How is it any different than me teaching my children to do laundry, clean the house and mow the lawn?

    Let's get the government out of our private lives and into policing the oil companies!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  26. David

    I think it's ridiculous to even compare what this family is teaching their kids, compared to real child slavery labor. Our country was built on traditional families teaching their children the trade that their families have taught them for generations.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  27. Jeanne in Minnesota

    Good grief! The state should be thrilled that a family is teaching its children how to work for a living; they won't be needing welfare assistance later on in life, you can bet. They will learn how to interact with real live people and not hide behind a computer screen. Those kids are so lucky to have parents that give them the opportunity to appreciate hard work–few have that privilege any more. Immigrant families that came to this country early on taught their children the same values. Absolutely terrific family tradition!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  28. Oscar Colque

    The dad says "That is how I was raised, it's my culture" Well, he is in America not Italy and the culture is....."kids don't work"

    I wonder how would people react if this was a Mexican dad making the same argument.....huh, call that a double standard!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  29. Amelia

    At last, we have a family that is instilling good values into their children, not to be hoodlums and live off the welfare system, but learn how to work for yourself. Isn't this what America needs? I'm not saying slave driving, but learn young to work hard and be proud of the work you do, and not the drugs you sell or the property you steal to sell that isn't yours just so you have money. I came from a family that taught all nine of us how to work young, we are all successful and not in trouble with the law. This is what America needs. Maybe if more parents were like this, our kids would not be in so much trouble all the time or so spoiled all they want to do is lay around and watch t.v. or play on their computers, etc.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  30. joseph klimek

    This is just one of the few reasons the United States will never build a serious cultural foundation. The state or law impedes on family, which is the beginning to a grounded culture. So an innocent family tradition, that is a lesson in business and responsibility to the children, is deemed unlawful and thus a piece of that families culture is lost... which will help those children fit right into the 'unculture' that is America. Sounds like monotonous service and bland pizzas to come out of that restaurant, law willing!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  31. Skipg

    I would much rather see children woking in their parents small business, being taught responsibility and the value of a good work ethic, than be at home unsupervised, playing video games, or worse.
    I believe in the necessity of child labor laws, but perhaps there should be some regulated exceptions for family.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  32. Liza Swart

    I definitely think this is overkill. I grew up in a small family business, a bakery, on the southwest Michigan coast. I started working alongside my parents by age 11, and I feel it helped instill in me a hard work ethic from a young age. I could see first hand how my parents worked, and it allowed them to spend quality time with me as well. My brother and I both worked there until college, gradually taking more hours and responsibility as we aged. We both now have successful, public-service based careers (he is a police officer, I am a naval officer). I credit much of our success as adults with the skills we learned as kids, working alongside our parents. If I had kids and owned a small business, I would raise them the same way.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  33. Debra

    As an Arab-American I grew up in my father's grocery store (just like Gov. Mario Cuomo said he did!) and worked there starting at about age 11 back in the late 70's/early 80's. It was a business started by my great-grandfather and his sons, and handed down to my father and his uncles. So yes, a family-owned business is a part of family traditions and I wish that store was still there for my 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter to work at to teach them the positive bonding of family working together and the strong work ethics that come with such an experience–this is something no school can teach! I can't believe the government is attempting to block the right of handing down such a family tradition, I hope this family wins their lawsuit for all of us!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  34. robert welter

    I owned a restaurant for many years and all of my kids helped out there. This man is both carrying out a tradition and teaching his children lessons they will not get in school. Lest we not forget the reasons child labor laws were enacted clearly this was not the reason to keep famlies from working and growing as a unit.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  35. Fred

    When parents try to keep their children off the streets and teach them good values and work ethic,the state steps in and says they are doing something illegal.These parents are passing along their heritage and the state should realize that this is much better than drugs or gangs.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  36. Steve

    Again, TOO MUCH government involved in our life.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  37. Rick MI

    This appears to be another example of a law that was passed to protect children / citizens, but is being abused by the issuing organizations and the end result is the law is being used to "harass" people.

    This is nothing unusual in this country since we are a society of rules, regulations, and laws, but we lack the common sense to enforce them.

    Allowing young kids to work in a family business that provides services to the public is an excellent way to prepare the kids for the future and they will benefit from this experience for the rest of their lives.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  38. Charlie from West Virginia

    New York State Alcohol and Beverage Control Board's "Blue Book" of regulations allows for underage family members to work in the family wine and liquor store, during holidays. Even they acknowledge the importance of kids in a family business.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  39. Fulmer

    children need structure and a strong family bond, this is a great way to develope that, if it's child labor then wouldn't chores around the house be the same as child labor? i can't believe what this world has come to, there learning life long values !!!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  40. Sabine Allen

    Just like families on farms these kids should have any and all opportunities to learn their family's business – within reason, of course.
    Restricted hours and age appropriate tasks should be allowed.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  41. Vincent Cassaro

    This interferance with a family Pizza business is outrages. these kids can make a great living 'IF' they chose to. Their parents don't look or seam like Corporate CEO's driving for the BUCK. I learned to be a butcher at age 11 at my Brother-in-law's family store and it did no harm to me I went on to become a Film Editor but 'IF' I needed a 2nd job I can fall back on being a butcher. LEAVE THEM ALONE !!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  42. Andrew Hayes

    As a single parent I work from home, online. My son spend time with me learning some of the aspects of what I do. When I was young my mothers boyfriend was a manage of the Chicago Sun-times, I would get up 4:30 – 5:00 in the morning to help stuff inserts in the morning paper, then help deliver them to the route boys in our area. Those experiences help teach me responsiblity, earn money, most importantly, about working hard. If he had work on car, lawn care, or any number of businesses that people own, it's a family business. What about farmer, especially many years ago when the whole family engaged in working to support the family farm. It's not like you are hiring an child, you simply are teaching your child an important part of living.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  43. Marta Kandl

    As an American Italian, I am deeply concerned about this ridiculous issue. In fact, it IS a very strong Italian tradition & a huge part of their culture that children work in the family business. It is what their whole economy is based on. It feels discriminatory and insulting to me as well. WE value our heritage just like any o the other sub cultures in America, such as African Americans, Latinos and Islamics, so I think we should be afforded the same rights !

    May 27, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  44. John E. Bunch II

    Family businesses have been the back bone of the development of America and are tradition in this country. The values children learn who are exposed to family businesses are invaluable and those children are truly lucky. Of course this is overkill and stupid. Kind of like taking discipline away from teachers in school. It means we are raising a generation that won't have any of the life skills our generation has, which is dangerous for our entire country's future.


    May 27, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  45. Niles M.

    This is truly a case of the state government being over zealous. I think it is important for children to learn the in's and out's of family businesses. Case and point: My father owns and operates a logging and firewood company, and had he not kept me around the business as a child, I would not have known what to do to operate and keep the business afloat when he was incapable of working for a month after an auto accident, I was 16 at the time that this occurred. I don't think it is necessary for the state to interfere in these cases as long as the parents are taking proper precautions to keep there children safe, and it does not take away from the child's education. I myself am now in my final semester at the University of Florida

    May 27, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  46. Tom Matthews

    State labor departments should "Look the other way" in cases where a family business is involved, unless they see obviously heavy labor involved. These kids are learning the business so that some day they can run it.

    Maybe the beurocrats think the kids should stay home and become "Couch Potatoes".

    May 27, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  47. Mary Ann Baker

    At the ages mentioned, I remember learning how to cook (from mom & dad), doing dishes, clearing the table, making beds, & cleaning house. We also helped dad with his insurance business. We did our chores and got an allowance. It was our family life style. At the very worst, it taught us independence. We had 7 kids, and we all turned out to be decent people, who care for ourselves, and respect others & can handle responsibility. If this man respects & and loves his children, who are the courts to say he cannot teach his children the same values my family learned. Anyway, many children enjoy getting an allowance for movies, Christmas, etc. This is obviously a family thing. Everyone seems to harp about family values these days, so why not let this family have it's values & just leave them alone!!! And let whoever started this foolishness pick one someone else. Or better yet, look inside themselves. I hardly think them perfect.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  48. Elvis

    Child labor laws exist so that children aren't working in sweat shops. A family owned pizzeria hardly qualifies. He seems like a loving father.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  49. Martin Wielgus

    We were all required to work in my father's bakery, even while in grade school. There were five of us. This is a form of slavery. I was deprived of my childhood. We all were.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  50. Steven Nolan

    What State is this in? One of the 50 States with a school year based on the tradition of children helping on the family farm? OooooKay!... that state should have a full year of public school.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  51. Cindy

    The children are with their parents, learning a work ethic, learning a skill, and are a part of their family business. It's a good thing. The father is passing on a great gift to his kids.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  52. Juan Morillo

    It is admirable that you have children willing to help and learn from their parents. Does the state prefer that children spend weekends at the mall, playing video games, or slacking around?
    The state should create a family work program that will allow a family to teach children responsibility and keep them out of trouble.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  53. MayorGalvan

    Children should be taught the family business so that they will have an alternative if they are not successful in another field. Governments have gotten too out of controll. It's time to galvanize and take back our cities and towns and country from all the political prostitutes who sit behind desks collecting big paychecks from the taxpayers. Galvanismo para el mundo! Io sono Galvan.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  54. Heather Moreau

    If the government wants to be parents then they should try to live on the salaries that we as parents are forced to live on.What is wrong with teaching our children the appreciation of working for what you want. Maybe if more parents taught their children that nothing is just given to you we wouldnt have so many economic problems! Keep up the good parenting.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  55. Pat

    I have no problem with working in the family business. It is about teaching there children work ethics I am sure if the children are not overworked. There are to many kids out there that continue to live off Mom and Dad because they need to find themselves! This way they are learning a business and the value of a dollar! Not just handing them money to get them out of their face!

    May 27, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  56. Braxton

    It's a family business. The kids should be allowed to work in the shop under the supervision of their parents.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  57. Amy

    There are so many things going on in the world right now that the government should be more concerned about. This is just another sad example of the government sticking its nose where it does not belong. I applaud this family for teaching its kids the value of work.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  58. Luis

    I started to work with my father and mother since I was 8 at our local grocery store, I believe that far from being something bad, it built a sense of responsibility on my person and ever since I love to work and get my own. So please relax a bit focus on other importnat things that need to be taken care of.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  59. Luke Covavk

    As long as they are considered employees and therefore treated as such with benefits, pay, etc.. then I see no problem. If they are not dear god employ someone who truly needs the job!!

    May 27, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  60. Chanel

    The next thing you know you won't be able to have our kids do work around the house, more commonly known as chores, like cutting lawn, raking grass, cleaning the garage, cleaning the bathroom, doing dishes. I'm sure those kids were not doing anything harmful and it's a family business! If you can't teach your kids what you do and how you do it, how will they become productive adults or peek their interest? The DOL is over stepping and needs to let it go!

    May 27, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  61. Barbara

    I believe the difference here is that this is a family owned business. What is the difference between teaching their children to cook at home vs the business location? None. It would be much different if they were actually working at business with no connection to family. As a society we seemed to have lost common sense when evaluating situations.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  62. Michelle

    I think this is such a slippery slope. All across the country, but especially in rural communities, children are expected to help with the family business. Children are given more and more responsibility as they grow, and commit many hours to helping their families on farms, and in other businesses. This teaches responsibility and the only way I can find fault in it is if the child is physically in danger, or the work they are doing is affecting their ability to be productive at school. I applaud this these parents for not only showing their children the value of work, but the value of family.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  63. Randy Cox

    Dear Fredricka,

    I was one who grew up working in my father's bowling alley, starting at the age of 9. Yes, there were problems with the education aspect of things. But deep down, I feel it was a necessary aspect of things, and yes it was absolutely necessary that my father needed my help with what I could do. But overall, there is nothing wrong using your family members to learn aspects of customer interactdion, working with money, and the aspect of just getting along with one's overall customer base. That is an education in itself. If the government did intervene, I feel that they were wrong. The law that they were misguided with is that it was intended for those being abused.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  64. Vicky

    God, with their great planners and goverment administrators, now they are so free to manage, they worried about mom&pop work cultures instead of bigger issues the country is facing ? Father to children is a golden bond and heritage , NONE OF THE GOVERNMENT's business. Abusing is however to be looked into, and this case it a clear culture-heritage violation. Stay out of it, Mr SAM GOVERNMENT please...

    May 27, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  65. Carolyn

    I began working in my family retail store in first grade when I would walk to the store after school. I started working at little jobs like making boxes, move on through putting out merchandise and helping customers and by the time I was in high school I counted the money at the end of the day and deposited it into the bank. I was not paid for this work but enjoyed spending time with my family and learned so much. This type of work did not interfere with my school work or my socializing but instead made me the hard working person I am today. I now have an advanced technical degree. I think more children would benefit from having this type of structured work exposure at a young age instead of sitting around playing computer games and watching TV.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  66. Liz

    The Bright side of them working the family business is teaching them responsibility and building structure in there lives. It also gives them self respect.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  67. Laurie

    Hey There Fredricka,

    The government needs to keep their nose out of alot of things especially 'family traditions' . There is nothing wrong with parents teaching their children about responsiblities, business, public relations. Its not like they are running a sweat shop; Conn. needs to pay attention to the many other problem's I'm sure it has. My husband and I 'support' this family and wish them well.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  68. Cammi

    Leave this family alone! I don't know who is responsible for harassing this family, but they certainly are abusing the power of their government position. They must have some kind of ax to grind! I certainly hope this family win their lawsuit against the state! Further note: wish we lived close enough to try the pizza!

    May 27, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  69. Charles Crumpley

    This country was founded on families working together. Children labor laws are to protect children from being exploited.

    Are they saying it's against the law for children to have family chores? Shall we stop allowances? How about cleaning thier rooms?

    Get real! What country are they from?

    May 27, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  70. devildoc

    In this day and age you cant do those things anymore, he should have used different methods to make them apart of the family business, because the moment one of the kids got hurt or someone thats a walk-in takes offense and reports on their own, then he has a whole new can of beans to deal with due to the state might try to shut him down anyways so i respect him maintaining the family tradition but be smarter than the system.....

    May 27, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  71. Jennifer

    I have worked at several restaurants in which the "family children' were very much a presence. This is how they made a living. It encourages the Family to be together, vs the children left alone to get into trouble. It is no different than my, now, being a "housewife" and having my children assist in tasks around the home. Is the government going to come to my house and Ban them from chores? Pathetic.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  72. nan

    There's nothing wrong with having children learn to work in the family business. But, if preparing food is part of the business I would not buy from the restaurant if I saw a young child handling the food. Kids hands are usually dirty.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  73. Brandon

    If they were actually just teaching their children how to make pizza, the way my father taught me to fix cars, or to build things it would be a problem; but it seems like they're taking their children's childhood away by making them offset labor cost in the family business. Bring your child to work for the day is one thing, but what they're doing is the textbook reason these laws are in place.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  74. Kimberly M

    What the state of Connecticut is doing to this family is just a shame. It's not just an Italian heritage notion that is under attack it is the ability to parent your child as you see fit.

    Go to any farmer's market and you are sure to see not just solitary owners but families that are involved in all aspects of the production of goods from farm raised vegetables to hand crafted items. I started a micro business three years ago with the intention of teaching my two oldest children what it takes to be an entrepreneur. With the knowledge they have learned through hands on experience they will always have a fall back position if a corporate or factory job doesn't produce enough income to support them.

    As a parent teaching my children about owning their own business I have been able to show them how to deal with customers, plan a product, apply the laws of economics through supply and demand and be a contributing member to their community not to mention what it takes to set up for a show. You just can't get that kind of education in schools today. Now as the oldest one prepares to graduate high school the youngest one is just starting school and wants to participate in the capacity she is able when ever she can.

    My thought is, if a child shows an interest and aptitude for the family business then by all means let them be involved! Doesn't the government have more important things to do?

    May 27, 2010 at 10:00 am |

    I normally don't make comments but when I heard that an Italian family wants to ignore our laws just to suit themselves, I needed to speak out. They want to move here and make a better life, but don't want to follow our laws. If someone were to break in to there store or beat up one of there kids, then they would expect American laws to deal with there problems.
    Well guess what? You can't have it both way. People think they can just file a suit for any little thing and get free money. The way I see it is, If you want to live here an enjoy all the benefit, Then get a grip and follow the program. The laws are here for a reason and you should have no objection to the protection of children. So if our laws don't suit you, You can move to Italy where child protection laws don't apply.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  76. sandra kennedy

    not all parents work children w/good intentions,thats why we have child labour laws.i worked @ a place where they had they're 15 year old daughter working as a full time bartender w/ no suppervision,now thats a problem!!it was a very big they serve alchohol in the "family" business in the story u're talking about,maybe that's why the hard stance.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  77. Andrew B

    If these children are making pizzas, clearing tables, dong tables, etc., this is not a case where the children need to be at the restaurant. While these are important skills, they can be learned at home, rather than in a work environment. I understand that times are tough for everyone all over, but the family should look into hiring more help, rather than having the children help. If they need the children to help, chances are that they are getting enough income from the business to hire another worker, even if just weekend help from a high school student.
    I also understand that children working in the family business is part of his Italian-American heritage. However, it is still a violation of the law. If a culture has a belief that it is acceptable to abuse your domestic partner, it is legal to have that belief in this country, but you still cannot practice it here.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  78. sandra kennedy

    not all parents have good intentions like this family.some parents or step parents do it just 2 cut cost on hiring legal employee's.that's been my experience working in family busness's.that's why we have the laws.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  79. Kathleen

    There is nothing wrong with children working a small amount of hours per week. Maybe 3 hours total? Children should not be burned out, and, their education and other opportunities, should not be limited.

    From a health and safety standpoint, it should be determined whether or not the children can follow proper food service standards. Are they wiping their noses? Washing their hands?

    Finally, if they would otherwise be home alone watching TV, then maybe they should be at work with mom and dad.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  80. lance atkinson

    Hi Fredicka My mom had custody of us kids and our dad would take us every other weekend to help him work on his apartment units he was a slumlordI never got paid never I got an inheritance and i`d get hit if I made a mistake I wish their were child labor laws to protect us Now I never make my chid do anything he does`n`t want to do and he is a great unspoiled hard learning son Lance

    May 27, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  81. mike

    The government doesn't say how old a person needs to be to work . It's how old they need to be to be put on the payroll. So pay them in other way collage , bank accounts, gifts etc. and call it helping out. THANKS GOVERNMENT !!!! No taxes......

    May 27, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  82. lance atkinson

    Hello Fredicka Forced cheap labor ! It is not right!! it`s only ok if the child is not forced to work or the child is not punished for not working! Chores are different !!

    May 27, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  83. Jodi Godin

    My youngest daughter came to me last summer and said "I need a pair of sneakers" I said "no problem, let's go to walmart" But she wanted a pair that she saw for a hundred dollors. Well in todays world, things are costly, and we have a strick budget. I told her if she wanted a hundred dollor pair of sneakers, she better get herself a job and she did. She was fourteen. Still working there at sixteen and her bosses can not say enough about her. It's a dishwashing job, not much, but a good honest first job. Inbetween her schooling and working, not much time to get in trouble. Not that she would, but really what parent wants to take that chance. In a culture we create traditions to live by with family and friends, it's what makes us a culture and it is my responsibility as a parent to instill those traditions in my children. If it's doing their chores on the family farm, or following in their mothers foot steps, doing the cooking and cleaning to take care of her husband (Not being shovanistic) or maybe it is the family business, that has been a part of them for generations. So be it, I really do think that we should be putting our energy towards the oil spill, the middle east or maybe those pore...pore....suffering mothers, fathers, grandparents....ect in Haiti and how we all can come together as one culture and fix it.

    Jodi Godin
    Nova Scoti, Canada.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  84. mike

    oh, I forgot Dad no deductions.....

    May 27, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  85. Elvia M. Chalmers

    Over kill 🙁 This is getting ridiculous, the regulators aren't able to enforce laws with real offenders so they go after families?? Our young people need to feel as if they are contributing to the family business, this is the intrinsic value of our nation.

    Don't deprive our youth of work !!!

    May 27, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  86. dandmb50

    I think it's a great idea but the father saying it's a family tradition is wrong. It was family tradition to treat blacks/women in a derogatory manner too, but then we overcame that and progressed. Now there are laws to protect the vulnerable. Teach them how to make pizza at home.

    Daniel .. Toronto, CANADA

    May 27, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  87. Curtis Sorenson

    Seems to me like the state labor board is just a bit overzealous.
    Are children of farmers not allowed to milk the cows, feed the chickens or do other farm related chores? Should vocational training not begin until a child is 14 years old?

    May 27, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  88. lance atkinson

    If you can not make it at your business without forcing your children to work for you Then you do`n`t deserve to have a business or have children period .I came from a family where child labor was forced. It was bad! some children were hit for not working fast enough others were given ice cream as the reward for repairing rundown apartment complexes Our ages were 8 on up This was what we did on the weekends my father had us. We should have been enjoying our Childhoods We never made minimum wage

    May 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  89. Michael in Phoenix

    Unless the child is being harmed stay out. This is a joke.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  90. Seriously are wrong. A family owned business is just that....a family owned business. He's learning the trade!! They don't need extra help...they have plenty of help!!
    This is absolutely rediculous! I thought our job as parents was to teach our children how to become hardworking, respectable members of society. Is the gov't going to tell us parents that teaching our children how to clean their rooms, do dishes, learn to cook and do laundry is a crime too? If learning the family business was computers...would this be considered taboo as well? This country needs to re-prioritize!!!! Good luck Nuzzo's!!!! I stand behind you 150%!!!

    May 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  91. Doug

    Once again, the government sticking their nose in where is doesn't belong! Are these kids failing school or working 40 hours a week? What happened to a parent's ability to teach their kids something?

    Maybe if more parents took time to spend with their kids, teach them repsonsibilities, the value of hard work and a dollar that is earned, as opposed to just giving them $20 bucks and send them off to the mall to act like idiots, America wouldn't have the problems with our youth that we do.

    Don't we have more pressing problems to deal with in the US? How many tax dollars are being wasted on this?

    It's sickening isn't it?

    May 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  92. Carl

    In this lousy and corrupt economy this opportunity these young boys have with their father is a Blessing to be able to learn a trade/business.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  93. Concerned

    This is completely RIDICULOUS. Bravo to these children who have the opportunity and the motivation to learn a trade AND help their parents out!!! This country would be much better off with more children like you... and instead we have a law against it!! How absolutely deplorable...

    @dandmb50 all "family tradition" means is the parents are teaching the kids their trade. i'm italian too and i worked at my father's dealership at these kids' age, it taught me alot about life just beyond cars and it's more valuable than sitting around watching tv and playing video games at that age...

    May 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  94. Alayne

    What if the family were professional gardeners or dog trainers? Would it be illegal for the kids to want to help in the garden or walk a dog?

    This is getting out of control. The child labor laws are there to protect children not to stop them from participating in family activities, learning family values and important life lessons.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  95. Mack

    The children have a vested interest in this business. It is incorrect to characterize them as employees.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  96. Emma

    If the children get payed, I think it is just family business. But if they do not get payed, and are forced to work then this is defiantly child labor.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  97. Mary Ellen

    I grew up helping the family baking business. This did not hurt me what so ever. In fact it made strong. It taught my responsibilty and
    work ethics. These kids are not farmed out to work. I surely don't think
    they are breaking any laws. If we had more families like them we would have less crime.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  98. Pat

    Prime news
    On the child labor

    I don't know about in Connecticut but in NY, most farm families have kids as young as 5 doing all sort's of work on their farms. One kid I went to school with who was from such a family had lost his hand in a baling machine while still in elementary school. They didn't get in any trouble. I was not part of a farming family and I worked on farms by around 10yrs of age without working papers. Picking rocks in the field and stacking hay in the barn working right next to heavy machinery. And as far as I know the laws for farmers are still the same they don't even have to pay minimum wage. 10 to 1 says Connecticut also allows children to work on family farms. So I see no problem with kids working in a family restaurant. It would be a lot safer of an environment

    May 27, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  99. Judy

    Are these children on the payroll; do they receive paychecks? THAT would be "labor," not a family working together to teach and learn work ethics and values.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  100. Judy Flynn

    I agree with the lawyer, this busybody needs to get a life and leave this family alone.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  101. Jay

    This is uncalled for. I use to mow grass and shovel snow. That was hard work but I learned good work ethic from that. What is the differance between that and this ? This should be thrown out of court !

    May 27, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  102. Susan McCahon

    I grew up in CT and knew the Nuzzo family , along with other families that had pizza palors. All the kids learned the business from their dads and grandparents. I think this made a traditional restaurant and family. I am proud of all the generations that stayed together and worked together. Also, as many have said, it is better than placing the kids in front of a tv or computer all day.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  103. Diana in Santa Barbara

    This is ridiculous! We should be happy these parents know where their kids are and that they are teaching their children to work together as a family towards a common goal. The children look healthy and happy and are learning valuable lessons. In 1997 I was laid-off and opened a gift store. Both my children "worked" with me at ages 7 and 16. I knew where my children were and they had a vested interest in the success of the business. Both children have done well in their jobs since. (My son served in the US Marine Corps and received numerous commendations prior to his honorable discharge.) They learned that working for spending money will not "kill" you. I must admit though, there were times I was concerned that I would be taken to task for child labor laws. As long as children are not missing school and not working in a hazardous environment, I don't see a problem, I see a positive learning experince. (By the way, my store stocked collectible teddy bears, a 7 year old's dream!)

    May 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  104. Kim Rakestraw

    This is RE-diculous-Good family values being criticized in this crazy world of soo much else going on!! These children are off the streets,spending time with generations of mentors and learning values, morals and servitude...The person that made it their business to Penalize this family should Refocus their energy to children on the streets or in poverty stricken areas, Runaways,illiteracy...
    Attitudes such as the accusors are what has helped this country become the mess it is.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  105. Rose

    I commend these parents for letting their children learn their business. I would rather the kids be with them at the business then running the streets or into drugs. They are learning how to work and not sitting in front of a tv or playing video games. When they get older they will be an asset to any job because they will not be afraid to work and work hard.
    I am for the parents...keep up the fight!!!

    May 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  106. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    I see no problem with this as long as it not excessive hours or hard labor. This is the best way for a family business to pass the business down to their children. What they are learning can't be taught in schools. They will also learn if running a business is for them while working their. Many things in life are best learned through experience.

    May 28, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  107. star

    I have thought about this very hard.
    It is called the family's business for a reason.
    It should be classified a 'learning experience' for children who learn their family's business.
    Through the years, I have seen children growing up, learning their family's business at a mom and pop shop, at a bakery, at a small dry cleaners. I don't see anything wrong with it as long as they're not expected to do dangerous work and handle dangerous equipment until they are mature enough to learn how to handle the equipment right. None of the children are ever left alone on the job. One of the parents is always there.
    As our society gets more and more modernize, as more jobs are sent overseas, a lot of our traditions and experiences are lost to future generations. Will the tradition of the family business be lost to future generations as well?

    May 28, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  108. Melissa

    There is nothing wrong with this at all. Yes I am personally related to this family but that does not bias my opinion. The parents of this family are not forcing their children to do work they don't want to do. The kids want to work and enjoy learning and growing up in their familys business. They are not being slaved there all day, instead it is something like a hobby they do on their free time. The government has become so corrupted and needs to just butt out of people's lives. Stop trying to accuse the innocent of wrong and worry more about giving homes to the homeless and feeding the hungry!

    May 28, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  109. sherry r

    leave the guy be,his children will grow up to run that buiness instead of becomming thugs......more power to him.

    May 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  110. sherry r

    those kids are lucky to have a family buiness to work at,money in their pockets,learning a trade........their are of children out in this world that will never have that.........leave him alone! go after people ,like catholic preist that are abusing children sexually.

    May 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  111. Dee

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with children helping out in a family business!!! What do you think kids on FARMS do? Many farm kids start working on the farm, and I mean doing heavy, physical labor just about as soon as they can walk! It has not hurt them.

    Why, in this wonderful country, can't we get a little COMMON SENSE in our laws.

    This is so ridiculous that i don't understand why there is even an issue.

    Child labor laws were enacted to STOP children from being EXPLOITED, when they were required to work 14 or mor hours a day in a SWEATSHOP, not a Saturday afternoon in a pizza restaurant!

    Much of the trouble we are having in our country is due to lack of common sense.

    May 28, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  112. Aulbert West

    The problem is that labor laws have not come into the current century. The Connecticut labor department rather than harassing this family needs to get some integrity and change the laws to allow families to hire their children.

    It's irrelevant whether the kids are getting paid or not. The work ethic is there even if they are laboring. It's also irrelevant whether the family is trying to save money on labor or not. It appears to be a long-standing tradition in this family for children to work in the family business.

    This family wasn't intentionally breaking any laws, and it is a clear case where the laws need to be updated and changed.

    May 28, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  113. dave

    It is the law. He is suing eh... what is his Constitutional arguement?

    May 29, 2010 at 12:11 am |
  114. Lary

    Is this all that the state has to do? There must be more important matters to tend to. Or is this just publicity. In any case, it's just plain stupid but a lot of stupid comes out of Connecticut.

    May 29, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  115. Kit Ramos

    well I see there does need to be child labor laws. I do agree from what is stated in the article that they may of been a bit overzealous here. the question is are the kids missing out on being a kid or are they still given plenty of time to do that, while also learning skills that are going to serve them well once they are gown? from the sounds of the article I would guess it's the latter one. also one point they didn't mention in the article do the kids want to do it? maybe they like to cook, so he's taking their hobby of cooking and refining it into a skill they can make greater use of when they are older. so then it's not that he's making them work he's indulging their hobby.
    so I wouldn't see anything wrong with it either.
    as I understood that law was meant to try to keep people from making kids into slaves. and that is defiantly not the case here, so that law shouldn't apply.

    May 29, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  116. Audrey Greve

    As a small landlord and hands-on remodeller of old buildings, I've always considered the children who accompanied and helped their fathers to be especially lucky - one example was a carpet-layer whose ten-year-old stepson was obviously happy to help him.

    They learn to work! It is in fact a great joy to anyone to know that he can accomplish a useful task, as well as a prerequisite to earning a living, and that needs to happen early.

    Now, Fredricka, why I really came to the website was follow up on part of your Ted Turner interview.

    I got to be a CNN addict when I broke my leg in '83 or '84. One fond memory is my phone call being put right through to the weather man of the time who was using a lop-sided map. Another is the bemused expression, almost a disbelieving expression, on the face of an Important Person being interviewed on his return from Europe: he'd apparently expected to fill in the Europeans on what was happening here, and they already knew from CNN.

    Good luck, lady. Keep 'em honest.

    May 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm |