News Release

Conway auto dealer pays more than $19K in penalties, back wages after federal investigation finds child labor, overtime violations

Liberty Autoworld Inc. allowed 14-year-old to work in prohibited occupation during school hours

CONWAY, SC – A recent U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation serves as a useful reminder for companies that employ teenage students that putting work before school will receive more than a failing grade, it will likely come with violations and costly penalties.

Division investigators found Liberty Autoworld Inc. – operating as AutoWorld of Conway – violated federal child labor occupations and hours standards. The division found that the employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by allowing a 14-year-old child to operate power-driven machinery while assisting with auto repairs. Liberty Autoworld also allowed the minor to work while school was in session.

By law, employers may only allow 14- and 15-year-old workers to be employed as follows:

  • Outside of school hours.
  • No more than 3 hours on a school day, including Fridays.
  • No more than 8 hours on a non-school day.
  • No more than 18 hours during a week when school is in session.
  • No more than 40 hours during a week when school is not in session.
  • Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.; except between June 1 and Labor Day.

The division assessed a $3,426 civil penalty for violating child labor requirements.

In addition, Liberty Autoworld violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements by failing to pay employees the required time-and-one-half rate when they exceeded 40 hours in a workweek. As a result, the division recovered $16,459 in back wages for 15 workers.

Child labor laws ensure young people gain meaningful work experience while ensuring work does not jeopardize their health or hinder their education,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel in Columbia, South Carolina. “As minors have returned to school, we urge employers and parents to reach out to us to ensure they keep children’s education and safety a priority.” 

Liberty Autoworld Inc. is a used car dealership and automobile repair shop servicing the Conway area.

For more information about 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, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
October 7, 2021
Release Number
21-1410-ATL
Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
Contact: Erika Ruthman
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