Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
CONNEAUTVILLE, Pa. -- Under the terms of a settlement reached between J.N. Pallet Co. of Conneautville and the U.S. Department of Labor, the company will pay $50,000 in civil money penalties to resolve child labor violations found during an investigation conducted by the department's Wage and Hour Division. Administrative Law Judge Stephen L. Purcell signed an order on Jan. 31, 2012, that approves the settlement.
Investigators found that the company violated the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by permitting minors to work in a room where goods were manufactured and to operate power-driven woodworking machines, which resulted in the amputation of several fingers of one of the minors.
"It is against the law to put the health and well-being of minors at risk by requiring them to perform prohibited hazardous jobs," said John DuMont, director of the division's Pittsburgh District Office. "Violations of child labor laws will not be tolerated, and employers who commit them will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The severe injury suffered by this teenage boy is a reminder of what can happen when children are permitted to operate hazardous equipment in violation of the law. This judgment underscores the fact that the department will continue to use all enforcement tools available, including the assessment of civil money penalties, to affect compliance with these regulations and ensure the safety of our working youth."
The Labor Department's Child Labor Enhanced Penalty Program, as established under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, allows the department to assess greater penalties in cases involving violations of child labor provisions that cause the death or serious injury of a minor.
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.pdf.
During the same investigation, the division found that J.N. Pallet Co. did not include production bonuses in employees' regular rates of pay when computing overtime, resulting in $776.25 owed in back wages to eight employees in violation of the FLSA. The back wages have been paid.
The provisions of the FLSA state that if a nondiscretionary bonus is paid, the bonus must be included as part of an employee's regular rate of pay for the purposes of computing overtime. FLSA-covered employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.
The investigation was conducted by the Wage and Hour Division's Pittsburgh office, which can be reached at 412-395-4996. For more information on the FLSA and other federal laws administered by the division, call its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit its website at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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