TITUSVILLE, PA – A U.S. Department of Labor investigation into how a 17-year-old worker suffered a minor injury at a Titusville plastic pipe manufacturer found the employer allowed the youth to illegally operate a forklift, a hazardous occupation under federal child labor law.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division assessed a $6,399 civil money penalty against WL Plastics Manufacturing LLC as a result of the child labor violation, which the employer paid. Federal law prohibits workers under age 18 from operating hazardous equipment such as a forklift.

During its review, the division also determined that WL Plastics Manufacturing LLC failed to pay proper overtime wages to 60 employees by not including safety bonuses in their wage calculations. The employer’s action led to a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The division recovered a total of $10,361 in back wages and liquidated damages for the affected workers.

“Minors should never be employed to do unsafe work. It is the employer’s responsibility to not only protect young people from being hurt in the workplace, but to also ensure all employees are paid fairly,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director John DuMont in Pittsburgh. “The Wage and Hour Division will hold employers accountable when they fail to comply with federal law.”

Founded in 2000, WL Plastics Manufacturing LLC is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of solid wall polyethylene pipe products with nine industrial locations in Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The company is based in Fort Worth, Texas.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including about its protections for young workers on the department’s YouthRules! Website. The division also maintains a search tool to learn if you are owed back wages collected by the division. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free, available in English and Spanish.

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