Lancaster meat processing plant endangered minors by allowing them to perform hazardous tasks, work more than the law permits
LANCASTER, KY – A Lancaster meat processing plant allowed eight minor-aged employees to work outside of federally allowed hours and engage in hazardous work, a federal investigation has found.
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Marksbury Farm Foods LLC – a retail and wholesale processor of beef and pork products – employed seven workers in slaughterhouse operations and an eighth worker to clean its floor, in violation of federal child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which forbids workers under 18 from doing most jobs in meat and poultry slaughtering, processing and packing establishments. Two of the minors, investigators learned, were under age 16.
In addition, the division determined the employer allowed a 15-year-old employee to work past 7 p.m. on dates not between June 1 and Labor Day, more than eight hours on a non-school day, more than 18 hours during a school week, and before 7 a.m. on a school day, all FLSA child labor hours and time violations.
The division assessed Marksbury Farm Foods an $8,893 civil money penalty to address the child labor violations.
“Federal labor laws protect children from being put at risk in truly dangerous work conditions. They exist to make sure the work young people do does not jeopardize their health or well-being or interfere with their educational opportunities,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils in Louisville, Kentucky. “The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring minors, parents and employers are aware of the child labor rules in order to prevent life-threatening injuries and potential death.”
The division also found the employer paid one employee an incorrect overtime rate after failing to update the worker’s regular rate of pay after they received a raise. By doing so, the employer paid overtime at a rate less than required. The division recovered $53 for this worker.
Located in Central Kentucky, Marksbury Farm Foods LLC distributes food in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, including at Kroger and Whole Foods Market locations.
The Wage and Hour Division offers multiple tools to help employers understand their responsibilities and offers confidential compliance assistance to anyone with questions about how to comply with the law, by calling the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Visit the agency’s website to learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including information about protections for young workers on the department’s YouthRules! website.
The division also maintains a search tool to learn if you are owed back wages collected by the division. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App – also available in Spanish - for free.