News Release

As the Northwest’s summer season approaches, recent federal investigations should remind employers to make youth employment beneficial for all

Violations found in Idaho, Oregon underscore limits, dangers for minor-age workers

PORTLAND, OR – As the summer hiring season looms, employers are offering more opportunities for youth-aged workers to earn money and gain work experience than in recent years. In preparation for their early ventures into the working world, young workers should familiarize themselves – and employers should review practices and ensure compliance –with federal labor laws designed to ensure that the experience is rewarding and safe.

In Idaho and Oregon, three recent investigations of grocery store operators by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division led to assessments of more than $240,000 in civil money penalties and the recovery of $114,382 in overtime back wages and liquidated damages for 266 workers. Most penalties were related to child labor violations.

“Summer and seasonal work offers young people a unique opportunity to get valuable workplace experience while earning money, but it should never come at the expense of their education or safety,” said Acting Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman. “Employers who hire youth-aged workers are obligated to comply with federal child labor laws to ensure the experience is safe and beneficial for workers.”

Specifically, the findings of the investigations of the three employers were as follows:

In addition to the back overtime wages and assessed penalties, the three employers agreed to implement enhanced measures to ensure future compliance with child labor regulations at all their locations.

“These investigations reinforce the importance of increased compliance with federal child labor laws,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Carrie Aguilar in Portland. “Employers are encouraged to use the many tools offered by the U.S. Department of Labor to understand their obligations and contact the Wage and Hour Division with questions or for clarification to avoid violations and costly penalties.”

From fiscal year 2017-2021, the department identified child labor violations in more than 4,000 cases, finding more than 13,000 minor-aged workers employed in violation.

For more information about young workers' rights and other laws enforced by the division, contact its 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
May 17, 2022
Release Number
Media Contact: Michael Petersen
Media Contact: Jose Carnevali
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