Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
BOSTON -- The U.S. Department of Laborís Wage and Hour Division has assessed a $44,070 penalty against Hometown Paint and Hardware Inc., a paint and hardware store located in Natick, Mass., and company president Helene Taylor for alleged violations of the child labor requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act after a 15-year-old employee was severely injured while working at the store.
The investigation was triggered by a workplace accident in which one young worker was seriously injured while operating a conveyor as part of his employment at the store. The Labor Departmentís Occupational Safety and Health Administration alerted the Wage and Hour Division following a separate investigation of that accident. The Boston District Office of the Wage and Hour Division determined through its investigation that the injured minor and another 15-year-old had been employed as stock clerks by Hometown Paint and Hardware, and that both minor workers had operated the conveyor as part of their employment in violation of federal child labor provisions.
ďOur investigation determined that the employer was aware that the young workers were using the conveyor as part of their job,Ē said George Rioux, director of the Wage and Hour Divisionís Boston District Office. ďThe injured minor almost lost his arm in that machine and has suffered a permanent disability. This tragic accident and the civil money penalties we have assessed in this case demonstrate that violation of the law has consequences. We hope that this enforcement action will encourage other employers to take proactive measures that guarantee the safety of their young employees.Ē
The employer has filed a timely exception to the notice of penalty, and attorneys for the Labor Department are preparing the case for a hearing before an administrative law judge as provided for in the law.
The Wage and Hour Divisionís Boston District Office investigated this case. For more information about the requirements of the FLSA, contact that office at 617-624-6700 or call the Wage and Hour Divisionís toll-free helpline at 866-US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Wage and Hour Divisionís website at http://www.dol.gov/whd. Additionally, specific information about the child labor requirements of the FLSA is available at http://www.youthrules.dol.gov.
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