News Release

Grocery store operator pays over $27K in penalties after US Department of Labor finds repeated child labor violations at Maine, New Hampshire locations

Young workers cleaned hazardous meat processing equipment

MANCHESTER, NH – The operator of two specialty grocery stores in New Hampshire and Maine, has paid $27,274 in civil money penalties to the U.S. Department of Labor after an investigation found that the employer employed minors to clean power-driven meat mixers and grinders. Federal child labor laws prohibit employees under 18 from cleaning or operating these machines.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that one 15-year-old and three 16- and 17-year-old-workers at the On The Vine Marketplace location in Scarborough, Maine, cleaned the prohibited equipment in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The division also identified ten 14- and 15-year-old minors working in violation of the FLSA’s hours restrictions at the Scarborough store and one 15-year old at the Exeter, New Hampshire, location. The FLSA limits the number of hours youth under the age of 16 can work to no more than three hours on school days or eight hours on non-school days, and not past 7 p.m. between the day after Labor Day and May 31. The amount of the civil money penalties in this case reflects the fact that the division found similar violations in an earlier investigation of the employer’s Exeter location.

“The summer hiring season is here, and employers should review their youth employment practices to ensure they comply with federal child labor laws. Employment provides young workers with valuable experience, but these opportunities must never come at the expense of a minor’s safety or education,” said Wage and Hour Acting District Director Eduardo Mota in Manchester, New Hampshire. “We encourage employers and workers to review our extensive online materials about youth employment and to contact our office to speak with a wage and hour professional to answer any questions they may have.”

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

Wage and Hour Division
July 13, 2021
Release Number
Media Contact: James C. Lally
Phone Number
Media Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
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