Wal-Mart Agrees to Pay Fine for Violating Child Labor Laws
Company Also Signs Compliance Agreement with Labor Department
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Wal-Mart $135,540 in civil money penalties for violating the youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The department's Wage and Hour Division found that Wal-Mart allowed teenage workers to operate hazardous equipment resulting in one teenager being injured while operating a chain saw.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer with approximately 3,000 stores, is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. The Wage and Hour Division Southwest Region has jurisdiction over Wal-Mart headquarters and coordinated the resolution of several investigations of stores in Connecticut, Arkansas, and New Hampshire.
The department's investigation revealed that Wal-Mart employed 85 minors aged 16 and 17 who performed prohibited activities, including loading and occasionally operating or unloading scrap paper balers, and operating fork lifts.
The FLSA prohibits the employment of minors under age 18 in any occupation determined hazardous by the Department of Labor. The department has issued 17 specific hazardous occupation orders identifying these prohibited occupations.
While not admitting the violations, Wal-Mart cooperated with the department and guaranteed full compliance with the youth employment provisions of the FLSA in the future.
“A young person's early work experience should be positive and educational and should never jeopardize their health and well-being,” said Victoria Lipnic, assistant secretary for the department's Employment Standards Administration. “Wal-Mart has signed an agreement with the department and committed to take specific measures to ensure that all its stores are in compliance with youth employment laws in the future.”
As part of the compliance agreement, Wal-Mart will:
designate a corporate official to supervise compliance with the agreement;
provide new and current store managers with training on child labor law compliance;
include child labor compliance reviews in its regular internal audits, and
post warning signs, supplied by the Labor Department, on all company-owned hazardous equipment indicating the age restriction on their use.
This compliance agreement is significant because Wal-Mart has agreed to implement these practices in all of its Wal-Mart Stores and Supercenters.
For more information on the youth employment provisions of the FLSA, visit the department's YouthRules! Web site at www.youthrules.dol.gov. Additional information can also be obtained by calling the Department of Labor's toll-free help line at 1-866-4USWAGE.
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