MADLEA, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota meat processing firm agreed Friday to pay $300,000 in fines after a lawsuit. investigation It was discovered to make use of youngsters as younger as 13 to work in hazardous circumstances, akin to working a meat grinder, whereas working night time shifts and longer hours than allowed by legislation.
Tony Downs Meals, primarily based in Mankato, additionally agreed to adjust to little one labor legal guidelines and rent a compliance specialist as a part of a consent order with the Minnesota Division of Labor and Business.
“On this case, Tony Downs agreed to take vital steps to stop little one labor abuses,” Division Commissioner Nicole Blesenbach mentioned in a press release. “All employers should present coaching to their workers to assist acknowledge potential little one labor violations and take steps to make sure that youngsters should not employed in violation of state and federal legal guidelines.”
The company says the meat processing firm employed at the very least eight youngsters between the ages of 14 and 17 at its manufacturing unit in Madelia. Investigators additionally recognized different workers who have been employed earlier than they turned 18, the division mentioned.
The younger workers, one in all whom was 13 once they have been employed, operated meat grinders, ovens and forklifts on night time shifts, and in addition labored in areas the place meat merchandise have been frozen with carbon monoxide and ammonia, in accordance with the grievance. In addition they allegedly labored longer hours than allowed by legislation, and a few of them have been injured.
Tony Downs “disputes and doesn’t admit to the alleged violations of the legislation” by the Division of Labor, in accordance with the settlement.
The investigation into Tony Downs started after the Minnesota Division of Labor obtained a grievance about working circumstances on the Madelia plant, in accordance with the grievance. Investigators carried out an in a single day inspection between Jan. 26 and 27, interviewing staff, documenting working circumstances and contacting space faculty districts. The corporate additionally offered worker data by way of February.
The Division of Labor discovered that Tony Downs knew in regards to the situation. She additionally discovered that the minors have been working beneath aliases and weren’t native English audio system, in accordance with the grievance.
Minnesota legislation prohibits employers from hiring minors to work in hazardous circumstances. Employers are additionally prohibited from requiring workers beneath the age of 16 to work after 9 p.m., greater than eight hours a day or greater than 40 hours every week.