U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Finds Child Labor Violations By 8 Retailers at Mall in Elizabeth, New Jersey
ELIZABETH, NJ – An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has found that eight retailers operating at The Mills at Jersey Gardens – in Elizabeth, New Jersey – allowed underage employees to operate and unload potentially dangerous paper baling and cardboard compacting machines, in violation of federal child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). WHD assessed a total of $40,667 in penalties to the retailers.
The retailers are:
- Aldo U.S. Inc. (Aldo)
- LTC Foods LLC (Cold Stone Creamery)
- Cornerstone Apparel Inc. (Papaya Clothing)
- New Deal LLC (Against All Odds)
- Genesco Inc. and Subsidiaries (Journeys)
- Puma Suede Holding Inc. and Subsidiaries (Puma)
- Johnny Rockets Group Inc.
- Sketchers U.S.A. Inc. and Subsidiaries
WHD investigators found the retailers violated FLSA requirements when they allowed 16- and 17-year-old employees to use the machines to discard scrap paper and flatten cardboard boxes. The law prohibits use of such equipment by any employees under 18 years old.
"All of these retailers have policies in place that aim to ensure compliance with child labor standards," said Wage and Hour Division District Director John Warner in Mountainside, New Jersey. "The number of violations we found demonstrates why employers must remain vigilant and even more closely supervise minors they employ. Child labor laws ensure young employees gain a positive work experience that does not interfere with their education, health, or well-being."
In addition to paying the assessed penalties, the retailers have each agreed to ensure future compliance by implementing one or more of the following: training management and staff on federal child labor requirements; mounting signage prohibiting employees under the age of 18 years from using prohibited equipment; highlighting the names of minors on work schedules to increase managers' awareness; and changing store policy to ensure minors do not take out the trash as part of their job duties.
Employees and employers can get more information about federal wage laws administered by the Division by calling the agency's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employees can also file complaints confidentially. More information also is available online at https://www.dol.gov/whd.