Monogram Food Solutions Reaches Settlement with DOL Over Child Labor Violations at Minnesota Facility

Monogram Food Solutions, a national food manufacturer, has reached a settlement of $30,276 with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division following an investigation into alleged child labor violations at Monogram Meat Snacks in Chandler, Minnesota. The investigation revealed that at least two 16- and 17-year-olds were allowed to operate meat processing equipment, which is a violation of federal child labor hazardous laws. The DOL announced this settlement through a news release.

As part of the agreement, Monogram Food Solutions has committed to full compliance with the child labor provisions outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) across all its production facilities and warehouses. Additionally, the company has agreed to hire an independent compliance specialist within 90 days, as stated by the DOL.

Under the “hot goods” provision of the FLSA, it is prohibited for employers to ship products produced through illegal child labor. Following the DOL’s investigation on March 28, the company received an “Objection to Shipment letter.” In response, Monogram Food Solutions voluntarily suspended shipments on April 24 while collaborating with the DOL to achieve compliance. With the execution of the consent order on July 6 and the payment of associated fines, the DOL has lifted its objection to shipment.

The investigation into Monogram Food Solutions is part of the DOL’s broader efforts to combat child labor violations. In March, the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services joined forces to address child labor exploitation. According to the release, the DOL has observed a 69% increase in illegal child labor activity since 2018.

Principal Deputy Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman stated that the Department of Labor and the Biden-Harris administration are firmly committed to addressing the surge in child labor violations. Looman emphasized the importance of employers training managers, hiring specialists, and front-line supervisors to recognize potential child labor violations and take appropriate action to ensure compliance with regulations.

The DOL continues to investigate companies suspected of violating permissible working hours for youth and employing underage workers in hazardous roles. As an example, in May, SDI of Neil LLC, the owner and operator of six Sonic Drive-In locations in Nevada, paid $71,182 in response to more than 170 child labor provision violations of the FLSA. The DOL alleged that the company permitted young teens to work excessive hours and operate manual deep fryers, which is considered a hazardous task for workers under 16.

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