Kroger store broke child labor laws on hours and dangerous machinery: DOL

  • A Kroger store in Mississippi let miners operate dangerous machinery and work too long, DOL said.
  • The store was fined nearly $14,000 for violating child labor laws, he said.
  • Three stores operated by Kroger subsidiary Fred Meyer also violated dangerous machinery laws: DOL.

A Kroger store in Mississippi has been fined nearly $14,000 for violating child labor laws by letting minors operate unsafe machinery and exceeding working hour limits, the department said. work.

The Southaven store allowed three workers aged 16 and 17 to load a trash compactor “with the keys into the machine to enable operation”, the DOL said. said tuesday.

Minors can work in most retail stores from 14 years old. However, child labor regulations established by the Fair Labor Standards Act prohibit anyone under the age of 18 loading or operating trash compactors.

The store also let a 15-year-old employee break a straight which limits the number of hours they can work during school terms to 3 hours a day and 18 hours a week.

The DOL said the store should pay a civil penalty of $13,673 for the child labor violations.

In addition, three stores operated by Fred Meyer, a Portland-based Kroger subsidiary, allowed underage workers to routinely load motorized balers, violating child labor laws for hazardous work, the DOL said in a statement. communicated. separate ad tuesday.

Fred Meyer should pay $55,440 in penalties for the infractions, the department said.

Kroger and Fred Meyer did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment outside of normal working hours.

The DOL said that in fiscal year 2021, it identified more than 2,800 underage workers employed in violation.

“Child labor laws are intended to ensure that young workers gain valuable work experience safely without interfering with their safety and education,” said Audrey Hall of the DOL in Jackson, Mississippi. “Employers who hire minors should be aware of the regulations governing this practice.”

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