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News Brief

Cal-Clean fined after 17-year-old has lower leg amputated while illegally cleaning machinery at Canton, Ohio, chicken processing facility

Wage and Hour Division assesses more than $63K in penalties for violating child labor laws

CANTON, Ohio — A teenage worker had his left leg amputated below the knee when his employer illegally allowed him to clean a giblet chiller machine at a Canton chicken processing facility.

Following an investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division assessed civil money penalties of $63,250 to Callaghan and Callaghan, doing business as Cal-Clean. The agency found that the company violated child labor laws by employing a 17-year-old to clean equipment at a Case Farms processing facility. The teen has been unable to return to work due to his injuries. Investigators determined Cal-Clean employed four minors on its sanitation crew in violation of the child labor regulations.

"This 17-year-old's life was forever altered because his employer illegally allowed him to operate hazardous poultry processing equipment," said George Victory, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Columbus. "The division uses both education and vigorous enforcement to ensure compliance with laws that protect youth in the workforce. Employment of young people provides valuable experience, but that experience must never come at the expense of safety. This case should serve as a wake-up call to other employers and cause them to review their labor practices to comply with critical protections that the law requires."

Cal-Clean has agreed to hire a native Spanish-speaking general manager to improve communication with its employees, and will now require appropriate supplemental age verification documents.

Callaghan and Callaghan contracts to clean meat processing facilities. It has headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers in those nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old workers or detrimental to their health or well-being. Youth ages 14 and 15 may be employed outside of school hours in a variety of nonmanufacturing, nonmining and nonhazardous jobs for limited periods of time and under specified conditions. These rules must be followed unless a specific exemption applies. More information on child labor rules can be found at or call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) for more information.

For more information on federal child labor provisions, visit or call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) for more information.

  • Read this news release in Spanish.

Wage and Hour Division
December 8, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number