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News Brief

Reliance Electric Inc. violates child labor laws, employs minors in Utah and Oklahoma construction sites

Company paying more than $376K in back wages, damages, penalties

Employer: Reliance Electric, Inc.

Site: Bixby, Oklahoma and Hildale, Utah

Investigation findings: An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found that eight children as young as 8 in Utah and Oklahoma were unlawfully employed by Reliance Electric Inc. In Hildale, Utah, Reliance Electric employed five minors under 14 years of age in construction including a 13-year-old who operated a forklift. All five of the children performed construction-related tasks, including cleaning and loading construction materials on and off of work trailers and assisting with stocking and organizing construction materials at Reliance Electric's main office. In Bixby, Oklahoma, Reliance Electric employed three children on a construction site including a 17-year-old who operated a circular saw. Reliance Electric also violated the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay any wages to five of these children, and underpaying fifty-six other employees. The company had a practice of not meeting payroll, and instead paid workers smaller amounts to hold them over, paying less than current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour on numerous occasions and failing to pay overtime as required by law. In total, sixty-one workers are due back wages.

Resolution: Reliance Electric is paying $163,000 in back wages and an additional $163,000 liquidated damages to 61 employees, and $50,300 in penalties for the child labor violations. The firm has agreed to take all steps necessary to comply with the minimum wage, overtime, and child labor provisions of the FLSA.

Quote: "Illegally employing minors in hazardous jobs that are prohibited by child labor laws needlessly places young workers at risk of injury, and will not be tolerated. The Wage and Hour Division is committed to keeping young employees safe in the workplace," said Betty Campbell, acting regional administrator for Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest.

Information: For more information about federal wage laws, or to file a complaint, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Salt Lake City District Office at 801-524-5706. Information also is available at For more information on the employment of youth, visit


Wage and Hour Division
July 31, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Juan Rodriguez