DoL: Kentucky Distribution Center Employed Children as Young as 11 - Modern Distribution Management

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DoL: Kentucky Distribution Center Employed Children as Young as 11

Violations included employing one child to operate a forklift — a hazardous occupation for workers under 18 — and tasking another child to pick orders in the warehouse.
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A company that owns a distribution center in Hebron, Kentucky, has been ordered to pay fines for child labor law violations after the Department of Labor found children as young as 11 working at the facility.

“The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a federal consent judgment that requires the operator of a Hebron warehouse and distribution center to stop employing children illegally and to not violate federal child labor laws in the future,” the department said in a news release.

The facility is a distribution center operated by Win.IT America, the U.S. branch of Shanghai, China-based Win.IT Information Technology Co. The company is a provider of integrated supply chain solutions with more than 700 workers in Austria, Germany, Great Britain and the U.S.

Labor Department investigators first learned of the violations in August. Investigators determined that the company employed two children — ages 11 and 13 —for months at the Hebron distribution center, according to the news release.

Violations included employing one child to operate a forklift, a hazardous occupation for workers under 18, and tasking another child to pick orders in the warehouse, a prohibited occupation for workers under 16, the department said. The company also employed both children for more hours than legally allowed and violated federal regulations that forbid employing workers under 14 years of age in non-agricultural occupations.

“Businesses must comply with the federal child labor regulations,” said Regional Solicitor Tremelle Howard, who is based in Atlanta. “Federal law ensures young workers can benefit by gaining valuable work experience without endangering their safety or hampering their education.”

In addition to ordering the company to comply with federal child labor regulations, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky required Win.IT America to pay $30,276 in civil penalties and to hire a third-party consultant “to provide semi-annual compliance training for all management personnel for a period of three years.”

Last year, federal labor investigators found child labor violations involving 3,876 children nationwide, an increase of more than 60% over the past five years.

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