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USA. Packers Sanitation Services hired teenagers to pack meat – Department of Labor penalty

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It was a systemic violation of child labor law in eight states, explained Jessica Looman, of the Department of Labor, who provided the results of the inspection to Packers Sanitation Services. The youths were responsible for cleaning equipment such as saws with dangerous chemicals, the BBC reported. At least three teenagers were injured while performing these duties. “These children should never be employed in meatpacking plants,” Looman said.

The U.S. Department of Labor said more than 100 teens, ages 13 to 17, worked for Packers Sanitation Services. National law prohibits the employment of people under the age of 14, and additionally limits the hours that young people can work.

Working in hazardous conditions at Packers Sanitation Services

A spokesperson for Packers Sanitation Services told the BBC that the company has a zero-tolerance policy towards hiring people under the age of 18. He reported that after learning about the effects of the inspection and allegations, a number of internal audits and trainings were carried out.

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“We are fully committed to working with the Department of Labor to make additional improvements to law enforcement,” he added.

A Department of Labor inspection found that work at Packers Sanitation Services involved cleaning equipment such as saws with hazardous chemicals. At least three teenagers were injured while on duty. Officials said some of the company’s managers tried to obstruct their investigation into the matter.

“It was a systemic violation of child labor law in eight states,” said Jessica Looman of the Department of Labor.

Therefore, in the opinion of Looman, “this could only happen if the employer does not take responsibility for breaking the law, for preventing violations of child labor.” “These children should never be employed in meat packing plants,” she emphasized.

The fine imposed on the company is USD 1.5 million.

Almost a thousand consecutive violations

Last summer, the Department of Labor expressed concern about an increase in cases of violations of the child labor ban USA. In 2022, 800 cases of such violations were recorded, involving almost 4,000 employees. minors. This is a sharp increase compared to 2015. American law prohibits the employment of persons under the age of 14. 14 and 15 year olds may not work later than 7pm during the school year or after 9pm during the summer. They are also prohibited by law from working more than three hours on school days, and more than eight hours on non-school days.

Read also: Over PLN 7 million fine for collusion on the waste market

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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