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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board
Reinstates Fine of $132,575 in a Massachusetts Case Involving Death of a

Minor was Illegally Employed to Operate a Forklift

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that Fisherman’s Fleet, Inc., a fish processing company located in Malden, Mass. has been ordered to pay $132,575 in fines for violations of the youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The department’s Administrative Review Board reversed an administrative law judge’s decision that had reduced the penalty by 25 percent.

The Board found that Fisherman’s violations of the child labor provisions resulted in the most severe consequence, the death of a 16-year-old boy. Given that fact and the review of the other factors, the board found that the penalty assessed against the company should not be reduced.

During the two-year period that was investigated by the department’s Wage and Hour Division, Fisherman's hired some 26 minors between the ages of 14 to 18 as cleaners of the company premises. That work required the prohibited use of a forklift, upon which the minors received no safety instruction. On October 20, 2000, Joseph Marzullo, who was 16 years old, died from injuries sustained when a forklift he was operating overturned.

Pursuant to federal standards, youth under the age of 18 are prohibited from being employed in hazardous occupations such as the operation of a forklift.

After this accident, the Wage and Hour Division partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Health to develop a “Forklift STOP Sticker” that employers can affix to prohibited equipment to remind young workers and their supervisors of the youth employment rules. Wage and Hour also joined with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to publicize and distribute this sticker, and developed a Safety and Health Information Bulletin that addresses the use of forklifts.

Information about the hours youth may work and the jobs they may perform and a copy of the Sticker are available on the Internet at

The department’s Office of the Solicitor in Boston and Washington, D.C. litigated the case.

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
July 12, 2004