$650,000 Fine for U.S. Company Using Child Labor in Hazardous Conditions

In another case of child labor violations, a Tennessee-based company is facing major fines for hiring 2-dozen children to work in hazardous conditions.

$650,000 Fine

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A company based in Tennessee will pay a $650,000 fine for illegally hiring underaged minors, some as young as 14, to work for them in dangerous conditions. 

Sanitation Company Accused

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Tenessee-based sanitation company Fayette Janitorial LLC has been accused by the US Department of Labor of hiring 24 children to clean out meat processing facilities in Virginia and Iowa. 

Plants in Virginia and Iowa

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15 of these children worked at Perdue Farms, a poultry processing plant in Virginia, and the remainder were hired to work at Seafood Triumphs Food, a pork processing plant in Iowa.

Breaking US Labor Laws

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Under US law it is illegal for employers in any state to hire persons under the age of 18 to work at meat processing plants, regardless of the role or conditions.

Doing Dangerous Work

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The 15 children were given the task of cleaning and sanitizing hazardous equipment in these facilities, including meat bandsaws, jaw pullers, and head pullers, amongst other pieces of equipment.

One Child Severely Injured

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During the investigation, it was found that one 14-year-old had been severely injured during the sanitization of a drumstick packing line belt at the Accomac, Virginia plant. 

600 Employees, 30 States

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On Monday the Labor Department shared that the company, which hires 600 employees across 30 states, had entered into a consent judgment.

Civil Penalties and Court-Ordered Mandates

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The over half-million-dollar fine will be paid as civil penalties, and a mandate was made to ensure that Fayette Janitorial will no longer employ underage workers.

3-Year Compliance Checks

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Under the agreement, a professional consultant unaffiliated with the company must be hired to monitor the company’s hiring processes and facilitate training for employees for a 3-year period.

Contracts Ended With Meat Processing Plants

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Both meat processing plants involved in the investigation have claimed they were unaware of the employment details regarding Fayetteville Janitorial, and both ended their contracts with the company in February. 

“Zero-Tolerance Policy”

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Fayetteville Janitorial released a statement of its own, acknowledging the investigation, confirming their cooperation, and adding that it had a “zero-tolerance policy for minor labor.”

Significant Improvements Have Been Made

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“Fayette has made significant procedural improvements and enhancements over the past two years to bolster our hiring protocols,” the statement continued.

Full Commitment to Ethical Employment

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It added that the company is fully committed to “providing a lawful, ethical employment, as well as a safe and secure work environment.”

Labor Violations on the Rise

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The investigation comes at a time when a number of labor violations involving children have occurred around the country, including in Tennessee. In March, a Tennessee company that manufactures power equipment components was fined close to $300,000.

“Oppressive Child Labor”

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A spokesperson for the Labor Department, Jessica Looman, released a statement sharing that 10 child employees had been subject to “oppressive child labor” working for Tuff Torq Corp and that the company would also be required to set aside $1.5 million in profits as compensation for the children. 

“Helping to Prevent the Next Death”

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“Our work will help prevent the next death or injury by ensuring Tuff Torq takes immediate and significant steps to stop the illegal employment,” the statement continued.

Another Tragic Accident

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Her statement may have been a reference to the tragic death of a 16-year-old migrant who was illegally hired to work at a Mississippi poultry plant late last year.

Employers Continue to Exploit Children

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“Federal laws were established decades ago to prevent employers from profiting from the employment of children in dangerous jobs, yet we continue to find employers exploiting children,” Looman said of the case of Duvan Pérez.

Real Consequences for Violations

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“As we’ve unfortunately seen in this case, employers’ violations of federal child labor laws have real consequences on children’s lives. Our actions to stop these violations will help ensure that more children are not hurt in the future.” 

More Cases Occurring

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The number of children working illegally in the US seems to be rising exponentially, with Labor Department statistics suggesting that illegal child employment has increased in the US by 88% since 2019.

The post – $650,000 Fine for U.S. Company Using Child Labor in Hazardous Conditions – first appeared on Wealthy Living.

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