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California Poultry Firm Penalized $4.8 Million for Child Labor and Wage Violations

Payam Javan: A federal court in Los Angeles has mandated that the owners of a California poultry enterprise pay $4.8 million in back wages and damages to 476 workers.

The Department of Labor (DOL) uncovered that children as young as 14 were illegally employed in hazardous positions. The defendants, operating eight poultry processing and distribution sites, must reimburse over $1.8 million in back wages, $3 million in damages, and a $171,919 penalty for child labor violations. Additionally, they forfeit $1 million in profits from goods produced with oppressive child labor.

The inquiry initiated after workers reported unpaid overtime. Supervisors retaliated against them, altering employment terms. Payroll records were falsified to impede the investigation. Children were employed in violation of federal regulations. The court imposed a restraining order on selling goods, as per the Fair Labor Standards Act. Owners must provide Fair Labor Standards Act training, hire a third party for compliance monitoring, and cease distributing goods to mitigate liability.

The DOL advises downstream distributors to guard against potential liability concerning goods made with oppressive child labor.

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