In a recent EmployNews article, we discussed the recent publicity over child labor violations across the U.S., frequently involving immigrant minors. Earlier this month, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division demonstrated how such violations can result in multiple investigations and penalties assessed by multiple agencies against employers that illegally use child labor.
DOL announced that it had assessed approximately $55,000 in penalties against a Florida construction company for employing a 15-year-old who was seriously injured in a fall. OSHA initially investigated the accident, assessing penalties against the employer for lack of fall protection requirements. When determining that the injured worker was a minor, OSHA notified DOL’s Wage and Hour division of the situation, prompting the second investigation.
The employer’s worries did not end at that point. In the course of its investigation, DOL determined that the company had misclassified a number of workers as independent contractors. The agency assessed an additional $106,000 in back wages resulting from these violations.
This case demonstrates the financial perils involved for employers that do not adhere to child labor requirements. Federal and state agencies are making a concerted effort to cross-refer potential violations to one another for investigation and issuance of penalties.