Another Tennessee Company Caught Employing Children in Violation of Federal Law

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The Tennessee Conservative (By Paula Gomes) –

Another Tennessee company was caught employing children in violation of child labor laws.

Fayette Janitorial Services, LLC, a Somerville-based sanitation company, will have to pay civil penalties following a federal court ruling for employing children in hazardous tasks at two slaughtering and processing facilities. meat packaging.

At least 24 children – some as young as 13 – were hired to clean the two separate facilities operated by Seaboard Triumph Foods LLC in Sioux City, Iowa, and Perdue Farms in Accomac, Virginia, during night shifts. Seaboard and Perdue have since terminated their contracts with the janitorial company.

Fayette, which employs more than 600 people in 30 states, was ordered to pay nearly $650,000 in penalties and must hire a third party to review its policies and implement preventative measures regarding future hiring at the over the next 3 years. a minimum.

Children under 18 are prohibited from working in facilities where hazardous tasks are common under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Federal Department of Labor investigators saw children trying to hide their faces before their night shift at the Iowa facility. Some carried visibly childish school backpacks.

The department learned that children were using corrosive cleaners to clean unsafe floor equipment and that at least one child in Virginia suffered serious injuries. The machines cleaned included those used to split the heads of slaughtered animals and the bandsaws that cut the meat.

Seema Nanda, United States Labor Attorney said in a press release“Employing children in dangerous occupations is a blatant violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act that should never happen. »

While willingly cooperating with the federal investigation, Fayette said the situation was caused by fraudulent identity documents that misrepresented the ages of young people hired.

The Department of Labor reports that nearly 6,000 children were employed in violation of federal law nationwide during the past fiscal year. including Tyson Foods in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

According to the Ministry of Labor, minors must be at least 14 years old to work in non-agricultural establishments and cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. The Fair Labor Standards Act also restricts the number of hours children under 16 can work and prohibits minors 18 or younger from performing hazardous work.

Tennessee employers must also comply with Tennessee’s child labor law, which protects the health and welfare of minors and ensures their educational opportunities.

For those who are 14 or 15 years old, the duration of work during the school year cannot exceed 3 hours per day, with a maximum of 18 hours per week.

During school holidays, this duration is extended to a maximum of 8 hours per day – no earlier than 6 a.m. and no later than 9 p.m. – up to 40 hours per week. For 16 and 17 year olds, there are restrictions on hours worked before a school day, with the latest being 10 p.m. and the earliest being 6 a.m. Meal periods or compulsory breaks must also be provided for young people who have to work 6 hours in a row.

Earlier this year, Tuff Torq Corporation of Morristown was fined after investigation found company had employed children of immigrants from the age of 14 to operate machines and work late at night.

Tuff Torq’s owner, Japan-based Yanmar Group, claimed the minors used fake IDs and names and were hired through a temporary staffing agency.

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at [email protected].