After federal investigators discovered two minors illegally employed at the company’s Minnesota location, a nationwide maker of snacks and convenience foods will make changes.
Monogram Foods, located in Memphis, Tennessee, has been ordered by a federal court in the state to comply with federal child labor regulations at all of its sites and warehouses around the country, “and to take significant steps to comply with these laws in the future.”
Teens operating meat-processing equipment
An investigation launched on 28 March at Monogram Meat Snacks LLC in Chandler, Minnesota — which produces ready-to-eat and refrigerated items such as jerky and smoked sausage — discovered the company employed “at least two 16- and 17-year-old children illegally employed to operate meat-processing equipment in violation of federal child labor hazardous orders.”
The Labour Department stopped the company from shipping items from the Chandler facility shortly after the investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division began, citing a Fair Labour Standards Act provision that prohibits employers from “shipping goods produced by child labor who are illegally employed.”
Cease Product Shipments
According to the announcement, Monogram agreed to cease product shipments out of Minnesota while compliance conversations were underway.
On Thursday, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota issued a consent order and judgment in which Monogram agreed to comply with federal child labor regulations as well as other stipulations, including the following:
- Hiring a third-party consultant or compliance specialist within 90 days to monitor child labor compliance at the Chandler location for three years and at Monogram’s other facilities for two years.
- Auditing machinery throughout all facilities and affixing specific stickers to machines that workers under the age of 18 are not permitted to operate legally.
- Creating a toll-free number where employees may get advice and report compliance issues confidentially.
- Notifying the Wage and Hour Division of any child labor breaches discovered immediately and correcting such violations within 10 business days.
- Within 180 days, submit an initial report to the division describing efforts made to comply with the terms of the consent order and judgement, as well as give annual reports.
- Notifying the department of each worker employed at the Chandler site whose employment ended, either voluntarily or involuntarily, after March 29, 2023, for 180 days following the execution of the order and judgement.
- In addition, the firm has agreed to pay $30,276 in civil monetary penalties for child labor violations in Chandler.
- The Monogram probe, according to the Labour Department, is part of an “overall effort to combat child labor announced earlier this year.
- According to the announcement, the agency has noticed a 69 percent increase in the number of adolescents hired unlawfully by businesses during 2018.
“As we stated earlier this year, the Department of Labour and the Biden-Harris administration are committed to combating the increase in child labor violations that we have seen.” Jessica Looman, Principal Deputy Wage and Hour Administrator, issued a statement. “In this case, Monogram should never have allowed two children to operate potentially hazardous equipment”:
“After our initial investigation, Monogram Meat Snacks and its parent company have agreed to take important steps to prevent future child labor violations. Employers are legally responsible for training their management, hiring specialists, and front-line supervisors to recognize potential child labor violations and to take all appropriate actions to verify that they are not illegally employed children and other young people.”
Monogram specializes in “meat snacks, appetizers, assembled sandwiches, baked goods, and other convenience products for private label sale.”