Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
Alaska Grocery Store Chain to Pay Penalties After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Finds Child Labor Violations At Dozens of Locations
FAIRBANKS, ALASKA – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Alaska Commercial Company – an employer operating 33 grocery and general merchandise stores throughout Alaska – has been assessed $20,490 in civil penalties for widespread child labor violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigators found that the Anchorage, Alaska-based company employed 30 minors – ages 14 and 15 – in violation of the time standards set by the FLSA. The young employees worked more than 8 hours per day and more than 40 hour per week during non-school periods, and more than 3 hours daily and 18 hours weekly during school, all FLSA violations. Additional violations resulted when many of the minors worked before 7 a.m. and later than 7 p.m. between Labor Day and June 1, and continued working past 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.
“Child labor laws exist to strike a balance between providing a meaningful work experience for young people and keeping them safe on the job, ensuring that work does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Silva, in Seattle, Washington. “Employers should use the results of this investigation as an opportunity to evaluate their own employment practices to ensure that they are in compliance, and avoid violations like those found in this case. We invite all employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division with any questions they may have.”
Alaska Commercial Company operates 33 retail establishments, providing groceries and general merchandise to rural Alaskans under many banners, including Alaska Commercial Company and Quickstop. The company is a subsidiary of The North West Company, based in Winnipeg, Canada.
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos and confidential calls to local WHD offices.
For more information about the FLSA, child labor and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd, including a search tool for workers who may be owed back wages collected by WHD.
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.