Tennessee parts manufacturer fined $297K for hiring children to operate dangerous machinery 

April 3, 2024
An investigation conducted by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company had hired 10 children to work dangerous jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has obtained a federal consent judgment to prevent Tuff Torq Corp. from employing children illegally and force the company to follow federal child labor laws. An investigation conducted by the agency’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company, which manufactures power equipment components, had hired 10 children to work dangerous jobs. The investigation began months ago, but on January 23, 2024, agency officials witnessed a child operating a power-driven hoisting apparatus.  

As part of the judgement, Tuff Torq will have to pay a $296,951 civil money penalty. In addition, the company must also set aside $1.5 million as disgorgement of 30 days’ profits related to its use of child labor. Tuff Torq has also agreed to establish an anonymous tip line for reporting child labor violations, allow searches of its facility for three years, and refrain from entering any new contracts with staffing agencies or other contractors with child labor violations. 

In a recent quote, Wage and Hour Division Administrator Jessica Looman said, “Even one child working in a dangerous environment is too many. Over the past year, we have seen an alarming increase in child labor violations, and these violations put children in harm’s way. With this agreement, we are ensuring Tuff Torq takes immediate and significant steps to stop the illegal employment of children. When employers fail to meet their obligations, we will act swiftly to hold them accountable and protect children.” 

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