Greater than 100 youngsters illegally employed in hazardous jobs … – US Division of Labor

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KIELER, WI – One of many nation’s largest meals security sanitation companies suppliers has paid $1.5 million in civil cash penalties after the U.S. Division of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division discovered the corporate employed at the very least 102 youngsters – from 13 to 17 years of age – in hazardous occupations and had them working in a single day shifts at 13 meat processing amenities in eight states.
The employer’s fee of civil cash penalties is the results of the division’s investigation of Packers Sanitation Companies Inc. LTD, primarily based in Kieler, Wisconsin. The division discovered that youngsters have been working with hazardous chemical compounds and cleansing meat processing gear together with  again saws, brisket saws and head splitters. Investigators realized at the very least three minors suffered accidents whereas working for PSSI. 
Underneath the Honest Labor Requirements Act, the division assessed PSSI $15,138 for every minor-aged worker who was employed in violation of the legislation. The quantity is the utmost civil cash penalty allowed by federal legislation.
The division started the Packers Sanitation Companies Inc. investigation in August 2022, and on Nov. 9, 2022, the Solicitor’s Workplace filed a criticism within the U.S. District Court docket of Nebraska primarily based on proof that the corporate – which gives cleansing companies below contract to a number of the nation’s largest meat and poultry producers – had employed at the very least 31 youngsters, from 13 to 17 years of age, in hazardous occupations to scrub harmful powered gear throughout in a single day shifts at JBS USA vegetation in Grand Island, Nebraska, and Worthington, Minnesota, and at Turkey Valley Farms in Marshall, Minnesota. U.S. District Court docket Choose John M. Gerrard responded by issuing a short lived restraining order on Nov. 10, 2022, forbidding the corporate and its workers from committing youngster labor violations.
On Dec. 6, 2022, the U.S. District Court docket of Nebraska entered a consent order and judgment, through which the employer agreed to adjust to the FLSA’s youngster labor provisions in all of its operations nationwide, and to take vital steps to make sure future compliance with the legislation, together with using an outdoor compliance specialist.
On Feb. 16, 2023, PSSI paid $1.5 million in civil cash penalties.
“The kid labor violations on this case have been systemic and reached throughout eight states, and clearly point out a corporate-wide failure by Packers Sanitation Companies in any respect ranges,” defined Principal Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division Jessica Looman. “These youngsters ought to by no means have been employed in meat packing vegetation and this will solely occur when employers don’t take accountability to forestall youngster labor violations from occurring within the first place.”
“Our investigation discovered Packers Sanitation Companies’ techniques flagged some younger staff as minors, however the firm ignored the flags. When the Wage and Hour Division arrived with warrants, the adults – who had recruited, employed and supervised these youngsters – tried to derail our efforts to analyze their employment practices,” stated Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Michael Lazzeri in Chicago.
The division’s investigation included the next places:
“The Division of Labor has made it completely clear that violations of kid labor legal guidelines is not going to be tolerated,” stated Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “No youngster ought to ever be topic to the situations discovered on this investigation. The courts have upheld the division’s rightful authority to execute federal court-approved search warrants and compelled this employer to alter their hiring practices to make sure compliance with the legislation. Let this case be a robust reminder that each one staff in america are entitled to the protections of the Honest Labor Requirements Act and that an employer who violates wage legal guidelines will probably be held accountable.”
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division.
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