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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


Employment Standards Administration

ESA Press Release: U.S. Labor Department Cites Kmart Corporation for Federal Child Labor Violations [06/05/1998]

For more information call: (202) 219-8211

Kmart Corporation, headquartered in Troy, Michigan, was fined $33,600 by the U.S. Labor Department for allowing underage workers to operate hazardous equipment at three of its stores.

The department's Wage and Hour division found that 14 teens, ages 16 and l7, were loading and operating cardboard paper balers at stores in Columbia, Pa., Sanford, N.C. and Owensboro, Ky. In Pennsylvania, a teenager received a minor injury to his hand while loading a baler. Investigators also found that a 17 year old in North Carolina had been operating a fork lift. The child labor law, enforced by the Department of Labor, specifically prohibits anyone 17 years old or younger from operating paper balers or forklifts.

"It is disturbing whenever young people are discovered working under hazardous circumstances, or when they are injured in the workplace," said U.S. Secretary of Labor, Alexis M. Herman. "The department has been working with Kmart in recent years to help prevent the illegal employment of children. These violations demonstrate the need for employers to be ever vigilant in making sure policies are reviewed and managers held accountable, to ensure that the entire organization is in compliance with work safety and child labor standards."

Kmart Corporation officials have committed to reinforcing their safety program in the company's more than 2,100 stores nationwide, and they say they will be reminding store managers to review safety manuals and to post warning signs on dangerous machines. They also say that during the month of June all store managers will receive video training on the safe employment of young workers.

Kmart will participate in the Labor Department's upcoming "Work Safe this Summer" campaign, as it did last year.

Child Labor regulations are issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA sets a minimum age of 18 for youth to work in any non-agricultural occupations declared by the department to be hazardous or detrimental to their health and well being.

Information on the FLSA and other laws is available from local Wage-Hour offices, which are listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
June 5, 1998
Media Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number