DETROIT – A Detroit grocery store employed several minors in violation of federal child labor laws by allowing them to operate trash compactors and tend to bottle recycling machines.

Following a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation, Greenfield Market paid civil money penalties of $10,000 after investigators found the employer allowed workers between 15 and 17-years-old to operate or tend to the machinery. They also determined the employer scheduled 15-year-olds to work after 7 p.m., more than three hours on a school day and allowed them to work more than 18 hours in a workweek, all child labor law violations. In addition, Greenfield Market failed to maintain complete records of employee birthdates.

“Employing young people provides valuable work experience, but that experience must never come at the expense of their safety or education,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Timolin Mitchell, in Detroit. “Businesses that employ minors must comply with federal laws that protect youth in the workforce.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes both hours and occupational standards for minor employees. Children under age 18 may not be employed in any occupation the Secretary of Labor has declared to be hazardous. Employers must follow these rules unless a specific exemption applies.

Wage and Hour Division offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos and confidential calls to local Wage and Hour Division offices. For more information on federal child labor provisions, visit or call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) for more information.

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