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News Release

Tragedy struck when Georgia auto transport company illegally required minor to operate hazardous equipment

Cars Loading’s violations of child labor, safety laws led to 17-year-old worker’s death

SAVANNAH, Ga. – A 17-year-old worker, who died when a car fell off a hydraulic lift and crushed him in November 2015,  was operating hazardous equipment in violation of federal law at a Savannah motor vehicle shipping facility, the U.S. Department of Labor has determined.

An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division’s Atlanta District Office found that Cars Loading LLC violated child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by hiring Marco Rosales to operate a reciprocating saw, circular saw and forklift to cut and dismantle cars for overseas shipment. On Nov. 30, 2015, Rosales was working on a car when the sedan fell off the lift. He was found trapped between the vehicle and the vertical leg of the lift.

Cars Loading paid a civil money penalty of $25,450 for the child labor violations that led to Rosales’ death. The division also invoked its “hot goods” provision to prevent the interstate shipment of goods produced in violation of the minimum wage, overtime or child labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The firm did not ship anything from the establishment for 30 days after the minor’s death.

The employer also misclassified Rosales and its other employees as independent contractors, the division found. Cars Loading also failed to obtain Morales’ date of birth, and failed to keep time and pay records for their employees. The misclassification of employees as independent contractors presents a serious problem for affected employees, employers and the entire economy. Misclassification often denies employees access to critical benefits and to workplace protections afforded to employees. The company is now complying with the FLSA.

The incident also led workplace safety and health inspectors from the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to open a concurrent investigation. On April 8, 2016, the agency cited the company for nine serious and two other-than-serious safety violations. The company has agreed to pay $13,860 in penalties.

“The death of this young man is a grim reminder of what can happen when minor-aged workers are illegally required or permitted to operate hazardous equipment,” said Eric Williams, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director in Atlanta. “Employing young people provides valuable experience, but experience must never come at the expense of our children’s health or well-being. This tragedy is a wake-up call to companies that employ young workers to review their labor practices to ensure that they comply with critical, legally mandated worker protections.”

Based in Savannah, Cars Loading, LLC contracts with customers who need to have their vehicles shipped overseas. The firm completes U.S. Customs paperwork, prepares vehicles for shipment and arranges transportation to port. 

The FLSA 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, non-mining and non-hazardous jobs for limited periods of time and under specified conditions. These rules must be followed unless a specific exemption applies. A list of hazardous occupations prohibited for minors is available on the division’s website at 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.

Read this news release en españól.

Wage and Hour Division
April 26, 2016
Release Number
Media Contact: Michael D'Aquino
Media Contact: Lindsay Williams
Phone Number