U.S. Department of Labor Press Release/Wage and Hour Division [Oct. 16, 2012]
TEACHEY, N.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor has assessed a total of $12,400 in civil money penalties against poultry processor House of Raeford Farms Inc. following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found minors performing hazardous duties prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions.
“Employers who hire young workers must comply with all federal and state regulations intended to keep our youth safe on the job,” said Richard Blaylock, director of the division’s Raleigh District Office. “This situation is particularly disappointing because the company previously was cited for the same type of violation. It is critical for employers to learn about and comply with the child labor provisions of America’s labor laws.”
Investigators found that two minors, both age 17,were employed in the company’s deboning department, where they were required to operate an electric knife in violation of the FLSA’s Hazardous Occupation Order No. 10, which prohibits workers under the age of 18 from operating or cleaning powered meat processing equipment, including meat slicers.
In addition to paying the civil money penalties, the company has agreed to maintain future compliance with the FLSA’s child labor provisions.
House of Raeford Farms Inc. has processing facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana, including six fresh poultry processing plants and two further processing plants.
The FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers in those nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor finds and declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old workers or detrimental to their health or well-being. These rules must be followed unless a specific exemption applies. More information on child labor rules can be found at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/youth.html and information about hazardous occupations orders is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs43.htm.
The division’s Raleigh office can be reached at 919-790-2742. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) and at http://www.dol.gov/whd.