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KIELER, WI – One of many nation’s largest meals security sanitation providers 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 not less than 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 services in eight states.
The employer’s cost of civil cash penalties is the results of the division’s investigation of Packers Sanitation Providers Inc. LTD, based mostly in Kieler, Wisconsin. The division discovered that youngsters have been working with hazardous chemical substances and cleansing meat processing gear together with again saws, brisket saws and head splitters. Investigators realized not less than three minors suffered accidents whereas working for PSSI.
Underneath the Truthful Labor Requirements Act, the division assessed PSSI $15,138 for every minor-aged worker who was employed in violation of the regulation. The quantity is the utmost civil cash penalty allowed by federal regulation.
The division started the Packers Sanitation Providers 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 based mostly on proof that the corporate – which offers cleansing providers beneath contract to a number of the nation’s largest meat and poultry producers – had employed not less than 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 crops 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 brief 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, by which the employer agreed to adjust to the FLSA’s youngster labor provisions in all of its operations nationwide, and to take important steps to make sure future compliance with the regulation, together with using an out of doors 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 Providers 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 crops and this could solely occur when employers don’t take duty to forestall youngster labor violations from occurring within the first place.”
“Our investigation discovered Packers Sanitation Providers’ methods flagged some younger employees 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,” mentioned 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 won’t be tolerated,” mentioned Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “No youngster ought to ever be topic to the circumstances 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 regulation. Let this case be a robust reminder that each one employees in the USA are entitled to the protections of the Truthful Labor Requirements Act and that an employer who violates wage legal guidelines shall be held accountable.”
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division.
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