U.S. Department of Labor Finds Three Chicago Area Companies Violated Child Labor Regulations After Minors Suffer Serious Injuries
CHICAGO, IL – After investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), it was determined that three Chicago-area companies – Maria V. Contracting, Prate Roofing & Installations LLC, and Red Line Management – violated the Child Labor Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). WHD has also assessed a total of $127,262 in civil money penalties against the companies under the Child Labor Enhanced Penalty Program (CLEPP) because three minors suffered substantial impairment during their unlawful employment.
WHD opened the investigations after receiving referrals from the Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding injuries suffered by minors employed in positions that violate "Hazardous Occupation Orders," which prohibit specific jobs for workers under 18.
"The Child Labor Standards specifically prohibit minors from working with equipment and in jobs that expose them to hazards. In each of these cases, minor employees suffered serious injuries because they were assigned tasks – such as working on roofs, and operating forklifts or other dangerous machinery – that violate employment rules for minors," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Tom Gauza in Chicago, Illinois. "The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring minors and their parents are aware of the child labor rules and that employers comply. We encourage employment opportunities for minors, but they must be safe."
WHD assessed civil money penalties of $63,814 to Maria V. Contracting after investigators found a minor employed by the company suffered electrical shock and serious burns when he fell 25 feet from an excavator bucket while cutting power lines. He also sustained fractures to his right femur and patella bone. Investigators found the company violated Child Labor standards by allowing a minor to drive a company pick-up, work on roofs, conduct demolition tasks and work around power-driven hoisting apparatus.
WHD assessed Prate Roofing & Installations LLC with $16,742 in civil money penalties after the Wauconda, Illinois, employer allowed a 16-year-old worker to engage in roofing activities. Investigators found that, while working on a roof, he fell approximately 25 feet through a skylight onto a concrete floor. OSHA investigators determined the minor was not attached to safety cord or wearing a helmet. He suffered a burst fracture in his spine and a fracture dislocation of the ankle requiring emergency surgeries and several months of rehabilitation.
WHD assessed Red Line Management with $46,706 in civil money penalties after a 17-year-old employee suffered multiple injuries when he fell more than 6 feet while riding on top of a forklift to steady the load. The fall resulted in a chest contusion, fractured left arm, torn left rotator cuff and torn ligaments in both knees that required multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitation. Investigators found the minor was operating forklifts, a prohibited occupation for minors, about 75 percent of his time on the job.
The CLEPP provides for civil money assessments of $11,000 to $50,000 for each employee who was the subject of a violation of the child labor regulations and suffered permanent loss, permanent paralysis, or substantial impairment because of their employment.
For more information about the child labor standards, the FLSA, and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.
WHD's mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.