A meat plant cleaning service has recently been fined $1.5 million for employing over 100 children across US locations. The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) conducted an investigation into the company’s labor practices and identified the violations.
The investigation revealed that the employer paid the children less than the federal minimum wage and failed to pay them overtime wages. The employer was also found to have violated the federal Child Labor Regulations by allowing children to work in hazardous conditions and in excess of the hours permitted for their age.
The employer has also been ordered to pay $1.2 million in back wages to the affected workers. Additionally, the employer must pay a $300K civil money penalty for willfully and repeatedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The employer has also been placed in a three-year compliance agreement with the WHD. During this time, the employer must adhere to the FLSA and previously initiated payroll audit. The employer must also establish a program to ensure that it is complying with all applicable labor laws.
This case serves as a reminder that employers must adhere to all applicable labor laws, including those that protect minors from hazardous working conditions and exploitation. Employers should also be aware of their obligations to pay workers at least the federal minimum wage and overtime wages when applicable.
The WHD is committed to ensuring that all workers, regardless of their age, are compensated fairly and that employers are held accountable for violations of the law. This case should serve as a warning to employers that the WHD is taking action to ensure compliance with labor laws.