Shocking photos released by the US Labor Department show more than 100 children working illegally for a company called Packers Sanitation Services Incorporated (PSSI). The company was fined $1.5 million for breaking child labor laws. PSSI reportedly employed at least 102 children aged 13 to 17 in 13 plants across eight US states.
The Labor Department started investigating PSSI in 2022 after a school in Nebraska told the police about a student with acid burns on her hands and knees. The 14-year-old girl said she was working night shifts at a local plant. Teachers also noticed other students falling asleep in class because they were working at the plant at night.
This case is not unique. In the last fiscal year, the Labor Department found 835 companies had employed more than 3,800 children in violation of labor laws. Illegal child labor in the country has increased by 69 percent since 2018, according to the department.
Recently, CNN reported that the Labor Department found three companies, which own more than 60 McDonald’s restaurants in four states, employed 305 children, including two 10-year-olds. The children worked more hours than allowed by law and did tasks that are not permitted for young workers. Some worked until 2 am.
The three companies face a fine of more than $200,000 for breaking child labor laws. However, the maximum civil monetary penalty under current US law for a child labor violation is $15,138 per child, which is not high enough to be a deterrent for major profitable companies, according to the Labor Department.
Are you or someone you know experiencing labor issues or unfair treatment at work? Labor Law Advocates in California can help. Our team is committed to fighting for employees’ rights and fair compensation across all industries. Contact us today for a consultation and learn about your legal options.