May 25, 2024

Fayette Janitorial Service Used Child Labor, Says DOL

Fayette Janitorial Service used child labor at slaughtering and meat packing facilities, according to the Department of Labor. The company has entered into a consent order and judgment that was approved by a federal court in Iowa on May 6, 2024.

The Tennessee cleaning contractor has agreed to pay $649,302 in civil money penalties. They must also hire a third party to review and implement company polities to prevent the employment of children in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and establish a program for reporting concerns about illegal employment of children.

Fayette Janitorial Service Used Child Labor, Says DOL

The Department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated and found that Fayette Janitorial Service, headquartered in Somerville, and operating as Fayette Industrial, employed at least 24 children, some as young as 13, on overnight sanitation shifts at two separate slaughtering facilities: Seaboard Triumph Foods LLC in Sioux City and Perdue Farms in Accomac, Virginia.

A preliminary injunction against the company was obtained on February 27, 2024 to stop the company’s illegal employment of children at its workplaces in more than 30 states. Children are not allowed to be employed in hazardous conditions that are common in meat and poultry slaughtering, processing, rendering, and packing operations.

At the Seaboard Triumph facility, investigators saw children concealing their faces and carrying glittered school backpacks before starting overnight shifts. The children used corrosive cleanings to clean dangerous kill floor equipment, including head splitters, jaw pullers, bandsaws, and neck clippers. At least one child suffered severe injuries at the Perdue Farms plant as the child tried to remove debris from dangerous machinery.

Regional Solicitor Christine Heri said in a statement, “The Department of Labor is determined to stop our nation’s children from being exploited and endangered in jobs they should never have been near. Children in hazardous occupations drove the Fair Labor Standards Act’s passage in 1938. Yet in 2024, we still find U.S. companies employing children in risky jobs, jeopardizing their safety for profit. We are committed to using all strategies to stop and prevent unlawful child labor and holding all employers legally responsible for their actions.”

During the last fiscal year, department investigators found more than 5,800 children had been employed in violation of federal child labor laws. Workers and employers can call the division confidential with questions. Investigators can speak more than 200 languages.

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