Labor Department Accuses Another Company Of Illegally Employing Minors In Dangerous Conditions

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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The U.S. Department of Labor filed a request for a restraining order Wednesday against a Tennessee cleaning service for employing children to work in dangerous conditions.

The Fayette Janitorial LLC allegedly employed 15 children to work at a Perdue Farms poultry plant located in Virginia and at least another nine for the Seaboard Triumph Foods pork processing plant in Iowa, according to the court filing. The department requested that the U.S. District Court of Nothern Iowa grant a temporary restraining order to prevent the company from “continuing to engage in oppressive child labor.” (RELATED: Big Corporations Try To Clean Up Their Acts After Reports Of Rampant Child Migrant Labor)

“The employment of children in hazardous occupations is an egregious violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act that should never occur,” Seema Nanda, solicitor of Labor, said in a press release. “The Department of Labor continues to use every available legal resource to protect workers and end child labor violations. We are working diligently with other federal agencies to combat child labor exploitation nationwide.”

BROWNSVILLE, TX - JUNE 22: A crying Honduran woman and her child wait along the border bridge after being denied into the Texas city of Brownsville which has become dependent on the daily crossing into and out of Mexico on June 22, 2018 in Brownsville, Texas. Immigration has once again been put in the spotlight as Democrats and Republicans spar over the detention of children and families seeking asylum at the border. Before President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that halts the practice of separating families who were seeking asylum, over 2,300 immigrant children had been separated from their parents in the zero-tolerance policy for border crossers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

BROWNSVILLE, TX – JUNE 22: A crying Honduran woman and her child wait along the border bridge after being denied into the Texas city of Brownsville which has become dependent on the daily crossing into and out of Mexico on June 22, 2018, in Brownsville, Texas. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from hiring children under 18 years of age to work in dangerous conditions and the department argues that its investigation revealed that the company had repeatedly put children at risk, according to the court filing.

The children worked overnight sanitation shifts and were required to “clean dangerous kill floor equipment such as head splitters, jaw pullers, meat bandsaws, and neck clippers,” according to the press release. One child at the Virginia plant suffered severe injuries after a machine tore into the child’s arm, requiring multiple surgeries, six months of physical therapy and over a month of missed school days.

A spokesperson for Fayette Janitorial LLC told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the company has “been fully cooperating and complying with an ongoing investigation by the Department of Labor in relation to events that occurred in prior years.”

Fayette has always had a zero-tolerance policy for minor labor in the workforce, and we have continued to work diligently to ensure that something like this cannot occur. Fayette has made significant procedural improvements and enhancements over the past two years to bolster our hiring protocols, including a biometric technology to assist in employee processes, the hiring of a new CEO, and adding an additional third-party legal representation to aid in the vetting of employees. Fayette Janitorial is committed to always providing a lawful, ethical employment, as well as a safe and secure work environment – adhering to any-and-all guidelines, set in place,” the spokesperson said.

The department also opened an investigation into multiple corporations in 2023 due to reports that companies were using migrant children to work in dangerous jobs. Several of those companies, including McDonald’s, Whole Foods and Costco, announced in February that they are conducting full audits to prevent the use of child labor in their facilities.

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