ESA News Release: [05/05/2009]
Contact Name: Dolline Hatchett
Phone Number: (202) 693-4651
Release Number: 09-0357-ATL
U.S. Labor Department assesses Atlanta-based Demon Demo Inc. maximum child labor penalty following death of teen at demolition site
Penalty is 1st by Wage and Hour Division under Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
ATLANTA The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has fined Demon Demo Inc. a child labor civil money penalty following an investigation into the death of a teenage worker at the company's Gwinnett Place mall demolition site from a second floor fall.
This penalty is the first assessed by the division under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. That statute increased the maximum level of civil money penalties to $50,000 for each child labor violation that results in the work-related death or serious injury of a minor. In cases where the employer's violation is repeated or willful, the maximum penalty is $100,000. In addition to the $50,000 penalty, child labor fines totaling $3,162 were assessed because the company failed to keep accurate records and allowed the minor to work in an occupation deemed hazardous by the secretary of labor.
"The federal rules governing the employment of minors are clear, and the consequences for failing to comply are serious," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Young workers must be employed safely and legally."
A listing of hazardous occupations for minors is available on the Wage and Hour Division's Web site at http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/hazardousjobs.htm. Certain industries allow individuals under age 18 to perform certain tasks at worksites where primary work activity is dangerous, but these tasks are very specific, and state and federal government closely monitor compliance.
The company has 15 days from receipt of the civil money penalty assessment letter to file an exception with the Labor Department if it wishes to contest the $53,162 civil money penalty assessment. Civil money penalty appeals are heard by a Department of Labor administrative law judge.
The Wage and Hour Division also cited the company for failing to pay 126 workers overtime compensation as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The company will pay $108,869 in back wages as a result of the wage violations.
The FLSA requires covered employees to be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, and time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 40 per week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records. The current federal minimum wage for covered, nonexempt employees is $6.55 per hour. Effective July 24, 2009, the minimum wage will increase to $7.25 per hour. For more information about the FLSA, call the Department of Labor's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at www.wagehour.dol.gov or by contacting the Georgia District Office of the Wage and Hour Division, 61 Forsyth St. S.W., Room 7M10; phone 404-893-4600.