Poultry processor fined $3.8 million for violating child labor laws and refusing to pay overtime

Dec. 11, 2023
The child workers were assigned to debone poultry using sharp knives and operate power-driven lifts to move pallets.

An investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Office of the Solicitor has determined that The Exclusive Poultry Inc. and related companies established by owner Tony Bran employed children as young as 14 years old to work at its poultry processing plants. The child workers were assigned to debone poultry using sharp knives and operate power-driven lifts to move pallets. In addition, the children were working more hours than permitted by child labor regulations. The investigation also determined that employers failed to pay workers their required overtime wages and retaliated against employees for cooperating with investigators by cutting their wages. The company will have to pay $3.8 million in back wages, damages, and penalties.

In a recent quote, Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said, “The department will not hesitate to invoke the hot goods provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act — including perishable goods — to combat the scourges of wage theft and child labor in our economy. Employers who violate the FLSA and their downstream distributors and customers should be on notice that we will use all tools at our disposal to protect workers, regardless of age and immigration status. We encourage workers to come forward and report employers that withhold workers’ wages or put their safety at risk.”

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