Federal court prohibits Hebron distribution center from ‘oppressively’ violating child labor laws by employing children illegally
HEBRON, KY – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a federal consent judgment that requires the operator of a Hebron warehouse and distribution center to stop employing children illegally and to not violate federal child labor laws in the future.
Entered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on Sept. 8, 2023, the action addressed Win.IT America Inc.’s illegal employment of children, which investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division discovered in August 2023. Investigators determined that the company employed two children — ages 11 and 13 —for months at its distribution center.
Specifically, the division found several violations by Win.IT America of child labor provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act. These violations included employing one child to operate a forklift, a hazardous occupation for workers under 18 and tasking another child to pick orders in the warehouse, a prohibited occupation for workers under 16. In addition, the company employed both children for more hours than legally allowed and violated federal regulations that forbid employing workers under 14 years of age in non-agricultural occupations.
In addition to ordering the company to comply with federal child labor regulations, the court required Win.IT America to pay $30,276 in civil money penalties and to hire a third-party consultant to provide semi-annual compliance training for all management personnel for a period of three years.
“Businesses must comply with the federal child labor regulations,” explained Regional Solicitor Tremelle Howard in Atlanta. “Federal law ensures young workers can benefit by gaining valuable work experience without endangering their safety or hampering their education.”
In fiscal year 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor found child labor violations involving 3,876 children nationwide, an increase of more than 60 percent over the past five years. The department addressed those violations, assessing employers over $4.3 million in civil money penalties.
“When we find child labor violations, the Department of Labor will not hesitate to use all enforcement tools available to compel compliance, including stopping the shipment of goods created and produced while the business was breaking the law to do so,” Howard added.
“The Wage and Hour Division is committed to combating the alarming increase in child labor violations in the U.S.,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Juan Coria in Atlanta. “Employers are responsible for taking all appropriate actions to verify that they are not illegally employing children. When they fail to meet these obligations, we will act swiftly to hold them accountable and protect our nation’s youth.”
Founded in October 2013, Win.IT America Inc. is the U.S. branch of WinIT Information Technology Co., a Shanghai, China-based integrated supply chain solutions provider with more than 700 employees in the U.S., Australia, Germany and Great Britain.
The Department of Labor’s YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the department and its partners promote developmental work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law.
The Wage and Hour Division offers confidential compliance assistance to anyone – regardless of where they are from – 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.