Poultry plant sanitation service fined for employing minors

Fayette Janitorial Service allegedly hired children as young as 13 years old to clean and sanitize spaces.

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Fayette Janitorial Service was fined $649,304 in civil money penalties for violating child labor laws by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

The sanitation service is also required to hire a third-party to review and implement company policies to prevent the employment of minors in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and establish a reporting program where employees can take concerns about the illegal employment of children.

The judgement follows an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found that Fayette was allegedly employing minors as young as 13 years old to clean and sanitize spaces and equipment at a Perdue Farms plant in Accomac, Virginia, and at a Seaboard Triumph Foods plant in Sioux City, Iowa. At least one 14-year-old at the Virginia facility suffered severe injuries while employed by Fayette.

Seaboard Triumph has since ended its contract with Fayette Janitorial Service.

“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,” said regional Solicitor Christine Heri.

“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.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act bans children under the age of 18 from working in dangerous occupations, including most jobs in meat and poultry slaughtering, processing, rendering and packing establishments.

“Every employer has a legal and moral obligation to make certain they are not employing children in dangerous jobs,” explained Wage and Hour Midwest regional administrator Michael Lazzeri.

“With this agreement, we are ensuring Fayette Janitorial Service takes immediate and significant steps to ensure they never put children in harm’s way again.”

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