News Release

US Department of Labor files suit against Fort Washington company after investigation finds minors illegally made door-to-door sales

Pennsylvania Youth Club allegedly violated child labor laws; faces $103K penalty for willful violations

FORT WASHINGTON, PA – A Fort Washington organization that employed at-risk teens to peddle candy and other items door-to-door is alleged to have violated federal child labor laws. 

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia against Pennsylvania Youth Club Inc. and owners Tarique Smith and Karon Duffy alleging the defendants violated the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and seeking an injunction against future violations.

The department has separately assessed a $103,051 civil money penalty for child labor law violations. Because the company has contested the penalty, the department has filed an order of reference with its Office of Administrative Law Judges seeking to affirm the penalty amount.  

The actions follow an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found the organization hired 17 minors, some as young as 12 years old, to work illegally as door-to-door salespersons. The employer also permitted teens to work during prohibited work hours, and failed to maintain proper records, both FLSA violations. Teens as young as 12 and 13 years old sold products through door-to-door sales, some working as late as 10 p.m. Federal law requires that teens must be at least 16 years old to be employed for door-to-door sales, and limits the number of hours those under 16 years old may work. 

“Protecting our youngest workers continues to be a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director James Cain, in Philadelphia. “Child labor laws ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities. Employers of minors have a responsibility to understand their obligations under the law, and to comply with those requirements. This case should serve as notice to other employers who may be employing minors in similar circumstances.” 

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by agency, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. 


Wage and Hour Division
April 20, 2021
Release Number
Media Contact: Leni Fortson
Media Contact: Joanna Hawkins
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