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Department of Labor Imposes Penalties for Employing Child Labor


A&J Meats, a California meat processor and a staffing agency used by the company were fined by the Department of Labor for illegal employment of minors.  In accordance with federal law, the processor surrendered $327,000 in illegal profits obtained through “oppressive and exploitative child labor”.  The Department of Labor imposed an additional fine of $62,000.  An investigation disclosed that workers at or under 15 years of age, were required to enter freezers and coolers and perform deboning with sharp knives.  Minors were also required to work in excess of the statutory number of hours per week in contravention of the Fair Labor Standards Act applying to children under the age of 18. A&J Meats is operated by Priscilla Castillo, a daughter of Tony Bran. He was previously ordered to pay $3.8 million in back wages and damages as a result of illegal employment of minors.


In commenting on the A&J Meats case, a spokesperson for the Department of Labor noted, “These employers egregiously violated federal law and now both have learned about the serious consequences for those who so callously expose children to harm.”


The problem of child labor extends beyond extended hours and exposure to hazardous situations in plants.  Investigations have disclosed possible trafficking of immigrant children by cartels with the connivance of staffing companies and acceptance by unscrupulous employers.