On July 26, 1990 President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, historic legislation that ensures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA laid the groundwork for a new agency within the U.S. Department of Labor and expanded responsibility for an already established office within the department: Our Office of Disability Employment Policy was created from a recommendation made by the Presidential Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities under
the Clinton Administration to provide a permanent focus on disability within the context of our work. ODEP develops policy to promote the employment of people with disabilities and provides technical assistance on a wide variety of topics, including the ADA. And our Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has coordinating authority to enforce the employment provisions of the ADA with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In With In-Sourcing!
"In with in-sourcing! Out with out-sourcing!" That was the message Secretary Solis delivered during a rally sponsored by the California Labor Federation and the Communications Workers of America. Solis joined trade union leaders and hundreds of workers and supporters in San Francisco's historic Union Square to make the critical point that "Made in the USA" is more than a label. It's a proven job creation strategy. After the rally, Solis accepted the annual "Solidarity Award" from the California Labor Federation, which represents 2.1 million union members in manufacturing, retail, construction, hospitality, public sector, health care, entertainment and other industries.
Community leaders from Minneapolis discussed economic and workplace challenges facing working Minnesotans with Secretary Solis on July 20 at the Minneapolis Central Library. The roundtable discussion brought together local leaders involved in education, workforce development, faith-based initiatives and nonprofit programs, and roundtable participants included representatives of the Minneapolis Foundation and the governor's office. Solis highlighted the department's current programs during the discussions.
Ruben Rosalez, western regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division, and Jose Alberto Vogl, the consulate general of Nicaragua in Los Angeles, signed an agreement on July 24 protecting the rights of migrant workers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. The agreement will provide information to constituents of the Nicaraguan consulate on topics such as minimum wage, overtime compensation, child labor standards, farm labor contracting, and migrant labor housing and transportation. The Nicaraguan consular section, a long-time stakeholder in the Southern California EMPLEO (Employment Education and Outreach) Program, will also join Wage and Hour Division's efforts to reach out to Nicaraguan nationals living in certain U.S. states.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration's "Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning" website has been selected by the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association as one of the best free reference websites of 2012. Voted on by librarians from around the country, the site is one of 26 selected as an outstanding site for reference information.
An exchange of information between the Bureau of International Labor Affairs and eight delegates from the Government of Jamaica took place July 17-20 at the department's headquarters. Deputy Secretary Seth Harris welcomed the guests and opened the discussion and dialogue about current programs and initiatives in Jamaica. The Jamaican delegation exchanged information on labor market information, policies and programs for low-income and low-skilled persons, best practices to connect youth to the labor market, free education and training programs, unemployment insurance and self-employment assistance, and monitoring and evaluation of programs with Labor Department agencies, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, the Employment and Training Administration, and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other participating federal and international agencies included the State Department, Organization of American States, Inter-American Development Bank, Census Bureau and Department of Health and Human Services. The program is part of the ongoing technical assistance that the U.S. government is providing to the Jamaican government.
Pathways to Employment
Jobs are important to everyone, but some people need special assistance, not only in developing skills but also in learning how to successfully search for jobs. The Employment and Training Administration's Region III and the Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families Region IV convened a meeting in Atlanta this week to address these issues. More than 100 participants from state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families directors and Workforce Investment Act representatives in the Southeast strategized and shared best practices for increasing employment for people on TANF, veterans and military families, youth and participants in the vocational rehabilitation system. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates and HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at ACF Mark Greenberg addressed meeting participants.
America's economic success requires businesses to capitalize on the talents of all segments of the population including disabled workers, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez told Walmart executives on July 23 in Bentonville, Ark. "We know that by fostering a culture of inclusion, employers benefit from diverse perspectives on how to confront challenges and achieve success," Martinez said. Two days after speaking to the Walmart officers, Martinez was the keynote speaker at Project Search's 6th annual conference in Austin, Texas. Launched in 1996, Project SEARCH provides work experience for high school students with developmental disabilities.
Rally for Women Veterans
Women veterans received clothing, dental and eye care and counseling on employment, housing and benefits at U.S. VETS' 2nd Annual Female Veteran Stand Down. Among those providing services to more than 200 women veterans were Women's Bureau Program Analyst Kelly Jenkins-Pultz and Veterans' Employment and Training Service Assistant Director Nancy Ise. The event took place July 20 at the University of Southern California School of Social Work in Los Angeles.
Approximately 100 employers, advocacy groups and community-based organizations in the Denver area participated last week in the department's free informational and outreach forum to learn more about wages, health benefits, job safety, affirmative action and veterans' re-employment rights. Speakers included Nancy Leppink, deputy administrator Wage and Hour Division; Dusti Gurule, regional representative for the Secretary of Labor; and Raja Raghunath, assistant professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. The event took place at the St. Cajetan's Center at Auraria Campus, Metropolitan State College of Denver.
"The average woman will lose $400,000 and incur substantial losses on retirement savings over their working life," Chief Economist Dr. Adriana Kugler told an audience of about 70 in remarks during the July 26 forum "Working for Women: Your Job, Your Rights" hosted by the Women's Bureau in Lansing, Mich. Kugler discussed the labor market recovery, the role of women in that recovery, and how various policies have helped spur job growth and address challenges faced by women in the labor market. In a separate roundtable at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, she addressed business and labor leaders and economic development professionals from the City of Lansing on the labor market recovery and the impact of recent policies on the revival of Michigan's economy and the auto sector. Last week, Kugler briefed a group of Foreign Service officers at the State Department on the latest labor market data and how policies are driving economic growth.
At a conference hosted by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, Dr. William Spriggs, the assistant secretary of labor for policy, noted recent efforts by the department to increase grant funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The conference was held July 19 at Hilton Head Island, S.C., and attended by presidents of HBCUs and predominantly black institutions.
The Interagency Working Group on Salon Worker Health and Safety convened this week to highlight its first-year progress. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Chief of Staff Debbie Berkowitz was joined by representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration for a discussion of the hazards caused by formaldehyde exposure particularly in the production and application of hair smoothing treatments. In the past year, OSHA and state partners have conducted 60 salon and manufacturers/distributors inspections based on complaints, issued hazard alerts, and conducted web-based education and outreach. In 2012, OSHA unveiled a webpage devoted to safety in nail salons and published a guide to chemical, ergonomic and biological hazards. The guide is being translated into Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean.
Nancy Leppink, deputy administrator for the Wage and Hour Division, hosted a Latino community leaders roundtable in Los Angeles last week to discuss the division's new Employee Guide to the Family Medical Leave Act. The guide explains who can take qualifying leave, the law's job protections and how FMLA coverage and eligibility are determined. "The FMLA allows employees to take time from work to care for their families and themselves; it recognizes that we are not just workers; we are grandparents, parents, partners, sons and daughters," said Leppink. The roundtable was hosted by the office of California Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will host a two-day disability underemployment symposium at the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Seattle on Aug. 6 and 7 to address barriers that keep individuals with disabilities from reaching their full potential in the workplace. To register, call 206-398-8005 or send an e-mail with name, title, organization, e-mail address and telephone to OFCCPVM.SEATTLEWA@dol.gov.
CFBNP Denver Job Clubs & Career Ministries Symposium
Innovative training programs and employers took center stage this week as Secretary Solis traveled through Northern California's technology corridor. At the Center for Employment Training in San Jose on July 23, Secretary Solis met up with CET president and CEO Hermelinda Sapien and recent graduate Bonifacio Gobea to see federal training investments hard at work. CET recently received grants through the Employment and Training Administration to help local residents, including many former farmworkers, get the training and credentials needed to succeed in high-growth industries. "Employment credentials are not a luxury in 2012 they're a necessity. We have to do more to help Americans access the specific training that local employers look for," said Solis. While on campus, Secretary Solis visited training labs for students in CET's medical assistant, electrician, and culinary arts programs. Following the visit, Secretary Solis also sat down with the local Telemundo station to spread the word about these training programs. Traveling north to San Francisco on July 24, Solis discussed the local impact of the Summer Jobs+ initiative with Mayor Ed Lee. Employers
partnered with Lee to open up more than 5,000 opportunities for area youth in response to President Obama's January call to action to expand summer employment for young people. But the innovative spirit of San Francisco and Silicon Valley had a much broader impact as local technology companies AfterCollege.com, Internships.com, and LinkedIn helped organizations across the nation add their job listings to the Summer Jobs+ Bank. Monica Wilkinson and David Garoud two local software developers put their talents on display building online applications through local and national code sprints that took the Summer Jobs+ Bank to the next level. During a roundtable discussion with city officials, local employers, and young people like LaRon Ryan and Elexus Hunter, Solis stressed the win-win nature of summer jobs programs as businesses build strong pipelines to local talent, and young people gain exposure to the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
Fewer than 60,000 veterans are estimated to be homeless on any given night a decline from the more than 90,000 just four years ago. But much more needs to be done in support of veterans, Secretary Solis said. As a member of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Solis underscored her commitment to veterans during visits to Swords to Plowshares in San Francisco on July 24, Goodwill of Silicon Valley in San Jose on July 23, and the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans on July 20. The organizations have
been assisting veterans for decades and have received grants through the department's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. In the three cities, Solis heard first-hand from veterans receiving department-funded assistance and toured employment training, classrooms and other facilities. Following a "kitchen table conversation" with veterans at every stop, Solis said that the nation's veterans have "protected us; now it is our turn to serve them."
Sen. Harkin Hosts ADA Roundtable on 22nd Anniversary
In commemoration of the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, Secretary Solis participated in a roundtable on July 26 hosted by Sen. Tom Harkin, who crafted the legislation for the landmark law. "The Department of Labor remains committed to ensuring that the employment needs of people with disabilities are considered in every aspect of our programs and in our policy-making," Secretary Solis said. "Today's event is but the latest reflection of Sen. Harkin's leadership in promoting employment of people with disabilities." Sen. Harkin is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Roundtable participants included Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, members of Congress and leaders in business, public policy and disability employment. The department's director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Patricia Shiu, also marked the anniversary at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh alongside more than 120 business leaders, disability employment advocates and workers. Shiu noted that the ADA opened doors to education and public services for people who too often were being denied them. And Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, enforced by OFCCP, protects qualified workers with a disability from discrimination in the work place.
DOL Announces Award to Help Seniors Find Employment
According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, workers 55 or older who become unemployed tend to stay unemployed longer, and those who regain employment generally sustain greater wage losses than do younger workers. To help this vulnerable population, the Older American Act of 1965 authorized the Senior Community Service Employment Program to promote community service and economic self-sufficiency. On July 26, the department announced the award of nearly $260 million in grants to provide critical job training and related services through the program.
Helping Unemployed Army Vets Get Back to Work Faster
The department and the U.S. Army announced grants totaling $3 million to Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina and Texas to develop strategies aimed at helping returning Army veterans find employment more quickly through the public workforce system. This initiative will provide the four states with $750,000 each to develop new strategies to enhance outreach and re-employment services for Army unemployment compensation claimants. The funding will allow states to improve data sharing between federal programs; add staff to help serve more veterans; increase access to services at American Jobs Centers, and expand employment service delivery through the Department of Veterans Affairs. These grants will be implemented over the next two years, and promising practices developed with the funding will be shared with other states and expanded to include other branches of the military.
A consent agreement filed July 26 against Lettire Construction of East Harlem, New York, sends an unprecedented message that the department will hold general contractors responsible not only for their violations of federal labor law but also for those committed by their subcontractors. "This action will help ensure that local prevailing wages and working conditions are not undercut by contractors who violate the law, and employers who play by the rules can compete on a level playing field for government contracts," said Nancy Leppink, deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. An investigation found numerous violations by Lettire and 16 of its subcontractors. Solicitor M. Patricia Smith noted, "This action should serve as a warning to other contractors that the department's Wage and Hour Division has many enforcement tools available… to hold all parties from the top of the contract chain to the bottom accountable for compliance with the law."
As construction businesses enter the peak season, it is important to remember that construction is the deadliest industry in the country – and falls are the deadliest hazard in that industry. The numbers are glaring: in 2010, more than 250 workers lost their lives in falls on construction sites, while more than 10,000 were seriously injured. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration are answering the call to prevent needless deaths with a nationwide falls prevention campaign. The effort advocates three simple steps for workers and employers to follow: plan, provide and train. Information is available on OSHA's falls prevention website – in English and Spanish – with resources to help ensure any work from heights is done safely. "By sharing this life-saving information, we can save lives," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "We can make real the promise that all workers deserve to come home safely at the end of a shift."
Georgia Businessman Reflects on Job Corps Education
Alfonza Hagan has had a full and interesting career – from Army Reserves to local deputy sheriff to special agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Hagan credits his success to the education and help he received at a satellite campus of the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Centre in Morganfield, Ky. He came to Job Corps as a teen with a chip on his shoulder, distrustful of everyone. But when he realized the program provided a chance to "understand what life was all about" he blossomed, obtaining his GED and heavy equipment operators' certification in 1982. Those credentials allowed him to enlist and become a truck driver, and then move on to a successful law enforcement career. He now runs a Georgia business that does polygraph testing for federal and states courts. Hagan said he recently returned to tell Job Corps students that the program "led me down the right path" and will do the same for those who strive to finish their education.
Army Veteran Rescued by Labor Department Grantee
When diabetes struck and a slow economy caused unemployment, Army veteran Troy Wilkinson received a lifeline from departmental grantee Goodwill of the Heartlands in Iowa. Wilkinson said the program "saved my life because I didn't know how I was going to make it otherwise." Wilkinson worked 12 hours per week at a local Goodwill store, employed as a cash register clerk, and learned all about the retail trade business. Exhibiting a strong work ethic, he quickly moved to a part-time position and recently was hired full time by a local Goodwill store. Thanks to the job, which includes benefits, Wilkinson said he plans to purchase a house with his sister in the near future.
DOL in Action
C.J.'s Seafood Faulted by OSHA and Wage and Hour Division
C.J.'s Seafood Inc. of Breaux Bridge, La., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with violations for exposing workers to hazardous working conditions. In addition, the Wage and Hour Division found the company failed to pay minimum wage and overtime compensation to 73 workers and failed to comply with provisions of the H-2B temporary foreign worker visa program. "It is imperative that employers comply with applicable laws that protect the health and safety of their workers," said Dr. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor who heads OSHA. Nancy Leppink, deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, added, "American workers seeking jobs should not be compelled to accept substandard wages and working conditions due to employers' abuse of temporary foreign worker visa programs." Field staff from OSHA's Baton Rouge office and Wage and Hour's New Orleans office conducted the investigations. The company has been instructed to pay nearly $250,000 in fines and back wages for the workers.
Texas Car Dealership to Pay Employees $797,000 in Back Wages
Viva Auto Group in El Paso, Texas, has agreed to pay $797,405 in back minimum wages to 480 current and former sales employees following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. Investigators found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act at eight of the company's locations in El Paso. Viva Auto Group made illegal deductions from employees' pay for training, which the employees were required to take, and for fees charged to reward customers for referring family or friends to the establishment, the El Paso Field Office found.
SSA Marine Cited Following Worker Fatality at Port of Long Beach
Stevedoring services company SSA Marine has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with five safety violations including one willful following an investigation prompted by the Jan. 19 death of a worker at the port of Long Beach, Calif. The worker was fatally crushed when a 40-foot-long shipping container was dislodged from the top of a stack of containers during unloading operations aboard a vessel. SSA Marine failed to prohibit employees from working beneath a suspended container.
Overtime Violations Found at Underwater Pipeline Inspection Company
Central States Underwater Inc., doing business as CSU Gulf Coast Inland & Offshore Diving Services in Crosby, Texas, has paid $117,157 to 38 current and former divers following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. An investigation by the division's Houston District Office found that the employer paid workers overtime after working more than eight hours in a workday rather than paying them time and one-half for all hours worked over 40 in a week. "Employees worked as many as 70 hours in a week without overtime compensation. This practice is illegal and unacceptable," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest.
Workers Were in Unprotected Trench at Florida Work Site
Ditchdiggers of Fort Pierce, Fla., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two trenching violations while workers were installing a new section of a sewer drain in White City. An inspection was initiated as part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. "Although the employer took a trench box to the work site, he chose not to use it and knowingly put employees' lives in danger by having them work in an unprotected trench," said Les Grove, OSHA's acting area director in Fort Lauderdale. "It is the employer's responsibility to provide a safe workplace for employees." Proposed penalties total $51,590.
The department announced a $420,518 grant on July 20 to assist about 100 workers affected by layoffs at Klingberg Family Centers in New Britain; Moore Wallace North America Inc. in Windsor, and Raytel Cardiac Services Inc. in Windsor. The grant, awarded to the Connecticut Department of Labor, will permit Capital Workforce Partners to provide affected workers with employment services and training that will allow them to transition to new employment within the state.
Follow-up Inspection Finds Repeat Safety, Health Violations
Thomson Plastics Inc. has been cited for 11 safety and health violations and nearly $163,000 in proposed penalties after a 2012 follow-up inspection of its facility in Thomson, Ga. The follow-up inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed some of the same violations as OSHA's original inspection in 2010
World Electric & Construction Co. Inc., known as Wecco, has agreed to pay $79,138 in back wages to 12 workers in Guam. An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. The division's Honolulu District Office found that the employer failed to pay the employees at least the minimum wage during their initial period of employment, providing only a $10-per-day meal allowance, with no additional wages, for several weeks.
A $7.2 million National Emergency Grant increment was awarded by the department on July 24 to assist about100 workers affected by the closure of the General Motors assembly plant in Shreveport, La. "Any time a major employer shuts its doors, the surrounding community suffers," said Secretary Solis. "The federal assistance announced today will connect these workers with critical job training and re-employment services so they can obtain local jobs in growing industries."
Health and Safety Violations at Ohio Dry Ice Plant
Dry ice manufacturer and distributor Continental Carbonic Products Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 17 serious health and safety violations at the company's Greenville, Ohio, facility. Upon receiving a complaint alleging hazards, OSHA initiated safety and health inspections in March and subsequently expanded the health inspection under the agency's National Emphasis Program for Process Safety Management. Proposed fines total $60,435.
Former Contractors' Association Executive Sentenced for Bank Fraud
An investigation has resulted in a prison sentence for Jonathan S. Deutsch, former executive secretary of the Constructors' Labor Council of West Virginia and the administrator of its related trust fund, the West Virginia Heavy and Highway Construction Industry Fund. Deutsch was recently sentenced to two years in prison, five years of probation and was ordered to pay $118,429.88 in restitution. The department's Office of Labor Management Standards and Office of the Inspector General determined that Deutsch committed bank fraud by making a false statement to a financial institution to conceal a fraudulent $120,000 loan.
Tropical Storm Debby Cleanup in Florida
The department awarded a $256,953 National Emergency Grant increment July 24 to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to create temporary jobs for eligible dislocated workers to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby. Twenty Florida counties were affected by the storm, which made landfall June 23.
Two Workers Injured at California Food Processing Company
Bridgford Food Processing Corp. of Anaheim, Calif., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with four safety violations at the company's Chicago meat processing facility. A worker suffered amputations of two fingers on Feb. 7 while operating a vacuum packaging machine and a second worker suffered injuries to four fingers operating the same machine on Jan. 25. Proposed fines total $184,000.
Five South Dakota Businesses to Pay Back Wages to 293 Workers
Five companies in South Dakota have been ordered to pay $124,604 in back wages to 293 workers employed at resorts in the Black Hills after investigations by the Wage and Hour Division. The investigations disclosed violations of the H-2B temporary nonimmigrant visa program and the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. The division also assessed the employers more than $79,500 in civil penalties for willful and/or repeat violations. The companies include Mount Rushmore KOA, Nanterre Parks and Resorts, and three hotels: the Hampton Inn, America's Best Value Inn and the Adobe Eco Hotel.
Pyongsan America Inc., which manufactures automotive parts for Hyundai Motor Co., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety violations following an inspection in March at the company's Auburn, Ala., facility. Two repeat and four serious violations included failing to secure compressed gas cylinders and not conducting periodic inspections of energy control procedures. Proposed penalties total $43,560.
Union Pacific to Pay $38,000 in Whistleblower Investigation
Union Pacific Railroad Co. has been order by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay an employee $38,561 in damages, which includes $25,000 in punitive damages, after retaliating against the employee for reporting a work-related injury. An investigation by OSHA upheld the employee's allegation that the railroad issued a 10-day unpaid suspension in retaliation for reporting an injury that occurred on July 8, 2011, while he was working as a switchman in the railroad's Topeka, Kan., yard. The railroad carrier, which has headquarters in Omaha, Neb., also has been ordered to post employee whistleblower rights information throughout its Kansas City Service Unit.
Houston Company Agrees to Pay $104,000 to 81 Janitors
CAM Cleaning Services LLC in Houston doing business as CAM Cleaning Services Inc., CAM Building Services Inc. and CAM Commercial Services Inc. has agreed to pay $104,374 in overtime back wages to 81 current and former janitors following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division's Houston District Office. The investigation found that the employer paid workers "straight time" wages for all hours worked with no overtime premium for hours beyond 40 in a week. The company also violated record-keeping provisions
OSHA Finds Repeat Violations at Maker of Grain Storage Tanks
Bushnell Illinois Tank Co., which operates as Schuld/Bushnell in Valley, Neb., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with eight safety and health violations. The citation was based on a follow-up inspection for hazards associated with workers who enter and work in permit-required confined spaces. Proposed penalties total $116,270. The company is located in Bushnell, Ill., and manufactures tanks for agriculture and commercial applications such as grain and feed storage.
Holubec Farms in Midkiff, Texas, has paid $14,207 in back wages to 10 farmworkers after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division's Albuquerque District Office. Holubec arms failed to pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and violated the provisions of the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program, the investigation found.
The department awarded a $795,076 National Emergency Grant on July 26 to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts following severe storms that struck a number of eastern Minnesota counties.
Recycling Company to Pay Penalty for Child Labor Violations
Under the terms of a consent judgment reached between the department and Harry L. Jarrett, doing business as MJ Recycling in Willow Hill, Pa., the company will pay a $15,000 civil penalty to resolve child labor violations found during an investigation conducted by the Wage and Hour Division. Chief Administrative Law Judge Stephen L. Purcell signed an order approving the settlement. Investigators found that the company violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by permitting a minor to assist with the operation of a metal punching and shearing machine, which resulted in the loss of several of the youth's fingertips.
The department filed a lawsuit seeking to recover losses suffered by participants in the SJP Group Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan. SJP Group Inc. is a paving and building site company headquartered in Cliffwood Beach, N.J. The suit alleges that on or around April 16, 2007, defendant First Bankers Trust Services did not fulfill its fiduciary duties when it approved the ESOP's purchase of 38 percent of the outstanding stock of SJP Group from defendant Vincent DiPano for $16 million, which was more than fair market value. DiPano allegedly sold his shares to the plan for what he knew or should have known was in excess of what the stock was worth. .
Horizontal Well Drillers of Purcell, Okla., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with three repeat and one serious safety violation for exposing workers to hazards at a drilling site in Jacksboro, Texas. OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office opened an inspection on May 10 in response to a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions. Proposed penalties total $71,500.