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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 08-1463-ATL (027)


Jan. 22, 2009


Michael Wald


(404) 562-2078

U.S. Labor Department finds child labor violations at malls in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach, Fla.

Violations found at seven establishments result in more than $50,000 in penalties

MIAMI -- As a result of a child labor mall initiative undertaken in south Florida by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, seven employers are being fined a total of $53,271 for violations of the youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Investigators visited 19 stores, restaurants, and movie theaters located at three malls – Dolphin Mall in Miami, Sawgrass Mills Mall in Fort Lauderdale, and The Gardens Mall in West Palm Beach, Fla. When Wage and Hour staff conducted random inspections, they found 50 minors being allowed by management at establishments in these malls to operate hazardous equipment, such as trash compactors and paper balers.

“While we recognize the benefits of teenage employment, the Labor Department is dedicated to protecting our youth from occupations deemed hazardous by the Secretary of Labor,” said Will Garnitz, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director in Miami.

The FLSA prohibits the employment of people under the age of 18 years in any non-agricultural occupations that the Labor Department has declared hazardous. These dangerous tasks are identified by 17 hazardous occupation orders, one of which requires that employees be at least 18 years old to operate or assist in operating power-driven paper products machines.

Minors may not work more than three hours on school days, eight hours on nonschool days, 18 hours in school weeks or 40 hours during nonschool weeks. The regulations detail that 14- and 15-year-olds may work during non-school hours, but no later than 7:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. from June 1 until Labor Day). Information on youth employment rules is available at

The Wage and Hour Division concluded 28,242 compliance actions and recovered more than $185 million in back wages for more than 228,000 employees in fiscal year 2008. The agency also assessed more than $9.9 million in civil money penalties.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, call the department’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243); visit the Internet at; or contact the Miami District Office of the Wage and Hour Division, 10300 Sunset Drive (Sunset Center), Room 255; phone 305-596-9874.


U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit