Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content
children sitting on a bench

Suffer the Little Children: 21st Century Child Labor Challenges

Statutes regulating child labor were among the first labor laws adopted in the U.S. but they’re still relevant today. Recent changes in immigration patterns and tragic accidents have brought them to the fore. Senior Principal Larry Stine was recently featured in an NBC documentary on this issue. In this webinar, Larry will explore current trends and recent cases, and give practical advice to human resources professionals about how to avoid the risks that come with employing underage workers.

Watch This Webinar

Webinar Transcript

J. Larry Stine (00:00):
<Silence> Hello everybody. As you can tell, we're a little late because we had technical difficulties. That seems to be the issue. Ms. Dorminey is here, but she is on the telephone as the disembodied voice 'cause we never could get her in. We've been trying for 20 minutes. So welcome to the seminar. We're gonna be talking about child labor and the way it's gonna be working, I'm gonna be talking to a disembodied voice and let Ms. Betsy introduce herself. Go ahead, Betsy.

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (00:32):
Alright, thank you very much Larry. And I apologize for being a disembodied voice. I invite you all to imagine that I, I'm stunning looking professional. Something like Amy, Tony Barrett, let's say, or something like that. So you can hold that in your mind and we'll pretend like that's me. Anyway our title today makes a bit light of something that is a pretty serious issue. Child labor has been an a concern really since the 19th century. And early in the 20th century, child labor laws were among the very first labor protection laws that were passed in the United States. It took a while for them to gain traction, but interestingly, the law that was finally enacted as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which we're all familiar with minimum wage and overtime, is essentially the same as what was proposed in about 19 16 or so.

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (01:31):
Children who are under 16 have limits on the number of hours they can work and on the kinds of equipment they can use. Under 14, that is between 14 and 16. There are further limits and between, you know, 16 and up to 18, there are limits on the kind of jobs there, hazardous occupations they can engage in. And as you would expect with federal regulations, all of this is adoptively explained in the reg. We have the, this issue has come before, again, with some sort of news <inaudible> and also with the new rules that the US Department of Labor had issued for advising their enforcers on how to investigate and also penalize violations. But the form that we felt we followed today will take advantage really of, of Larry's long career. He started out his law career at the US Department of Labor in the solicitor's office in the late 1970s. So he's been able to be a, have a front row seat to a lot of the development in in the law and its enforcement took that time and is led earlier periods of emphasis on the on, on child labor issues. So perhaps I thought we'd start with asking Larry to, to give us a little picture of what, what things look like when he, he started in and, and then any, any kind of change in focus that he's noticed recently.

J. Larry Stine (03:13):
Okay. Thank you, Betsy. I will say when I first started, which is 1975 there was child labor and there were a number of child labor issues, but the, the age of the children was really not much of an issue. It was really people not knowing what the child labor regs did and what they restricted and, and that part of the child labor A violation continues today because so many people really don't understand what is prohibited and was allowed as, as Betsy noted, is kind of structured is 14 and 15 year olds can work in the United States, but have what's called child labor Reg three that restricts their hours. And in 2010 they did amend the regulations and flip it so that what it is now is that child labor. Reg three now tells you what the, the, the, the teenagers and 14 and 15 year olds can't do.

J. Larry Stine (04:16):
And if it's not in that list, they can't do it. The problem is a lot of times when we use common sense, we run a foul of federal regulations. Let me give you an example, and this has been true from the get-go is some 14-year-old boy comes up to your house and says, Hey, I'll, I'll mow your lawn for 20 bucks. He comes in, he brings his lawnmower, cranks it up and does it. And you give him $20. You have not violated the child labor law because, well, he is not your employee, he just came in and did it. But if you take the same kid and you have a business and you're needing your lawn mow and he brings a power lawnmower, you have just violated the child labor hazardous order. Because believe it or not, even though I know I started long mowing, my lawn mow was 10, and I suspect a lot of you did the same.

J. Larry Stine (05:10):
It is illegal for you to have anybody under 18 use a power lawnmower to mow your lawn. And there are lots of little provisions in the regulations that can catch you on that particular aspects so that you have a, a problem. The, the, the issue though with the child labor is the thing that has changed is the way to verify the age. I don't know if in in the older days it was relatively easy in most states, if you had an issue with the kids, you call the school and most states issued then and issue now work permits and you can get the work permit from the children of the minors of the high school and you can know their actual age. The problem we're having now is we're having a number of migrants come across the state line and they are bringing documents that are false and they're falsifying their age and they're falsifying their names.

J. Larry Stine (06:24):
And what happens is, since we started in 75, in 1987, they passed the Immigration Reform Control Act and set up the I nines. And what happens under the I nines is when you get the certain documents meet the list, the US Department of Justice says that's as far as you can make inquiries into those particular documents. So that certain limitations that have been implied over on top of the wage hour regulations for, so when you look at the work permits and uphold this the work permits require certain documents for either the state or the federals to issue a work permit. And what those documents are as first a birth certificate. Well, most, you're not gonna get a birth certificate from people coming across the line. A lot of 'em don't have it school records and it's, oh, you knew that they were in the school, you could check it.

J. Larry Stine (07:28):
But the problem is, a lot of times with the documentation, there's no indication that they're in school and no indication of where their school is. The other is documents that they allow you to use is a passport or a certificate of arrival, which is now called an I 94, and they should have the ages. The problem is under the I nines, you're prohibited from asking for the person's passport and you're prohibited to ask for the I 95 'cause they get to choose which documents you get. So the work permit provisions and the regulations have not adopted to the problems that most employers aren't having when they're confronted with the the I nines and the alien registration or the falsified documents. So that's part of the,

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (08:25):
Can I drop a footnote right there? Sure.

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (08:29):
So you, you touched on a, on an interesting point that I'm sure a lot of our, our listeners are, are, are very much aware of, which is the whole entire complications of, of of immigrant labor. Now, which were not part of the picture so much. Back in the seventies, babies and nineties when when the immigration will were perhaps not that much different, but the the dynamics of the practical application of them was very different. And certainly it, it, they're remembering that the Immigration Reform and Control Act <inaudible> from 1987 was, was a balancing act. It isn't all, you know, designed for the employer. There was certain employee protections built into that. And perhaps this would be a good segue to you talking about how the the, the, the industry that are getting involved in some of these child labor violations have, have changed over the last 30, 40 years.

J. Larry Stine (09:34):
Sure. For example, by the way, the wage hour does these types of child labor massive projects and cycles. If you're here long enough, you'll see 'em. So in 1993, the industry that was getting all wage our attention were grocery stores. So they went against, let me see, I pulled some data on it. In 1993, wage Jar had a task force out that did grocery stores and they fined and a a and p, which was not around anymore, paid $490,000 for 800 miners. Publix paid $500,000 for 400 of miners and Food line paid $8 million. By the way, that's about the equivalent of about $2 million in today's money, about double what it is a little bit more. So at that time, the emphasis was on the grocery stores and what they were doing and the child legal Reg three and some of the issues you have.

J. Larry Stine (10:46):
'Cause The problem sometimes that there's hazardous orders and there's a hazardous order that looks like it was related to meat packing, hazardous order number 10. Well, in there you're prohibited from using a meat slicer. The Powered Mo Meat Slicer Wage Hour takes the position that the HO 10 applies to any industry that uses a power meat slicer. So if you go into art's, for example, as a restaurant, you'll see them using that meat slicer all day long to slice the meat. Well, the problem is, if anybody's under 18, they can't touch that piece of equipment. And by touch, I don't mean just use it to slice, they can't clean it, they can't unplug it, so it's not running and clean it because wage hour takes its position. If any cleaning got power driven Meat Slicer is a violation of HO 10, which prohibits anybody under 18 from doing it.

J. Larry Stine (11:50):
So you gotta be 18 or older to do it. So the industries are kind of interesting and where we're seeing some of the current, this current drive is in sanitation and meat packing plants seems to be where we're seeing the the bulk of the examinations in the child labor emphasis and they are running task force. 'cause I've talked to some people in Wage Hour and they've acknowledged off the record that they have created task force and they're out there and they're looking at various sundry meat processors for child labor, particularly on the sanitation, not surprising, the PSSI, which is the largest sanitation contractor in the United States, and that industry was fineing $1.5 million for multiple child labor violations and settled for $1 million. And so you're beginning to see citations in that same effect. The other

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (12:52):
Mary you go ahead. I'm sorry, go ahead. I didn't wanna interrupt. You're talking about the the citations and the penalties and so forth. That seems like that might into some of the other kind of measures that wage hour can take and the forms of I guess civil money penalties are one thing, but there's also the the the hot good provisions which are specifically applicable to the child labor violations isn't, isn't that sense? Yeah.

J. Larry Stine (13:27):
The interesting thing about the Fair Under Standards Act that they provide for hot goods prohibition against shipping goods in interstate commerce for violations of the minimum wage and for child labor. And the Department of Labor has successfully brought a number of hot goods cases against Miss Payroll, for example. That tends to be the classic example of when they use the Hot Goods. Now what happens is they seize the goods, but as, and they, they'll go into federal court and get a temporary restraining order and perhaps preliminary injunction to keep you from shipping those goods. Well, what kind of critical <laugh> in particularly if you're imp perishable products, but the way you can release the goods is pay the money into the court and for the, the payroll or just settle it and pay the ba the minimum wage and then the junction is lifted and goods go in.

J. Larry Stine (14:24):
The problem with the child labor hot goods, and we have looked back and we've not found that, doesn't mean there isn't one, but we've looked and we've looked extensively to see if there was ever a hot goods or child labor ever entered prior to this time and we couldn't find them. We did find a case in 1957, we denied the hot goods for child labor, but the child Labor Hot Goods provision says is that they're violating or, you know, doing oppressive child labor, which is the definition of the act is that we can prohibit you shipping for anything in that plant if a minor worked in or around the plant in violation of that 30 days going forward. My problem is, when I look at it, and I think it's gonna be a problem for wage hour, is I don't know how you release the goods.

J. Larry Stine (15:22):
I mean, you can't undo it since it's the injunction joins to shipping the goods 30 days from the last day of the child labor violation. You can't change it. It's in the past. And to me it has some questions of constitutionality on the taking laws. Like we haven't researched it 'cause we haven't recently. And, and there's announced in the press wage and hour finally got a A TRO under the Hot Goods Provision. But the critical point is it was a consent TRO, so I don't know what all the other little details are in it that the, that the company had consented to a Hot Goods injunction for child labor. It's in the act. This is the first time I've ever seen it done and only it was done by not be

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (16:16):
Okay. That, that sort that, that does sort of lead to, to the benefit of the defense of this conversation so far that there was a a, a RY plan in the news recently. And I have to say Larry was was interviewed by NBC News and connection with this with this particular incident and investigation. It was, it was quite tragic. A young person did lose their life from from working in a, in the sanitation department of a of a factory plant. But they've they, the NDC came down and interviewed Larry in the office with families and everything, and he did, he did a very, very good job of explaining the the things and I think really came out with a more balanced coverage of the story. But Larry, just, that was in the news. Do you wanna, do you wanna talk a little bit about that one because it draws in not only the problems with, with, with hot goods and enforcement and penalties and so forth, but also the idea of proportionality. There's, you know, one kid in a plan of 1700 people or 11 other people, right. But also the the migrant status and the difficulty with i nines and paperwork.

J. Larry Stine (17:32):
Well, here, here, here talk about a complex situation. And it is, it's one of those things where there's a lot of people involved and there's something that's at issue with each one of them, but it's complex. So here's the problem. So we are having miners come across the line, undocumented workers and some of them are coming up via loans from coyotes, you know, and coyotes is not the type of, of loan like the bank where you can go get a 90 day extension. They expect their payments and they'll take retribution. So the parents and the children under real pressure to earn the money back to pay for what's going across. And it's common knowledge in the Hispanic community. So the minors are desperate, absolutely desperate for money, as is the guardians and the family sometimes. So the way a lot of the undocumented workers are getting work in this country is they're getting false documents under the I nine provisions.

J. Larry Stine (18:36):
If those documents are facially correct, we have to accept 'em, then we can run 'em through E-Verify and then they come back either confirmed or not. So we get documents in this industry. We're running the I nines, we're running the E-Verify. So we've got verification documents are valid, not necessarily they're right person for the documents, but they're valid. And so they go into the plant and they're pretending, you know, they're 19, 20, 21, 22, you know, close enough to their age. And the issue then is they'll get into sanitation. And a lot of times the line leaders are former, you know, are also undocumented workers. Now, we would anticipate that an awful lot of times the first line supervisors would be the one that raises to the attention of HR because they go through HR and they've become the one that's aware that they may be minors.

J. Larry Stine (19:34):
But the problem is, the complexity of it is that they are aware of the problems the minors have in earning money. And these are very well paid jobs, very good paid jobs. And with the minors getting this, they can pay off the loans that they've got. So, because they first line supervisors know if they report back to hr, Hey, I know this kid is 16, HR is gonna do what HR is going to do, what should do. And what we all should do is we'll terminate them immediately to get them out of that position because we don't want to now, you know, we've got that complexity going on. And so we've got, it's acknowledged, you know, the, the employees, the minors are submitting false documents with the knowledge of the guardians of the parents. And some of them have a, when you go back into the Mexican culture, this is kind of interesting, I was doing an audit and a poultry plant and I had an 18-year-old, we verified it.

J. Larry Stine (20:38):
She had an American birth certific 'cause she was actually born in the United States, went back to Mexico. So we had verified she was 18 years old. When I'm reading the application, Betsy, what I see is this young woman who's now legal to work in the United States had three years of experience and a poultry plants in Mexico. So the Mexican culture and where they're coming from, having 15 year olds working in a poultry plant is perfectly normal for them. So they don't think anything of it because that's what they do. A lot of times that's the age in which everybody goes to work in Mexico, it 15 but not earlier. And so they don't see an issue. HR is trying their best and they're getting the documents, but their hands are tied as to how much they can do. So that's the complexity, what's going on, and it makes it a remarkable problem. And then on top of that, the federal government, which is partially responsible and not mostly responsible for a lot of these coming across, want to be taking the attention away from what they're doing and their, their part of the story. And so they want to have high profile cases against the employers to try to put them in the the worst life possible. So that's kind of the complexity of what's going on and it makes it extraordinarily difficult for everybody involved.

J. Larry Stine (22:10):
Okay, Benson,

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (22:11):
Well that's, that's a very good, that's, that's a very good point. And that just shows how complex all of these, you know, intersections of, of, of different things are going on. I suppose it would be, it would be enlightening for, to, to suggest some things that an employer who's dealing with a population of applicants like this can do to try to to, to, to verify whether a job applicant is legal to work or not. And and also some of the you know, some of the, the remedial steps that, that you can take in, in that kind of situation. Especially when you're dealing with staffing companies that are, you know, under contract to do all of this. E-Verify and I nine paperwork and, and you know, upon who the larger employers lie.

J. Larry Stine (23:04):
Okay, so there's a couple of things that we, we have kind of come up with and I'm, I'm going take, which are suggest in a minute 'cause you'll get a laugh from that. But some of the things that we're trying to do in this particular circumstances is, first thing is we're trying to at least identify them vir visually is that they're in that range. It's, you know with their ranges, you know, they look young. The problem we have with a lot of 'em is a lot of them are coming up from Guatemala and honestly their food situation is extremely poor. And so a lot of the adults who come up from Guatemala, you know, where males are five foot tall and 110 and don't check, and until they get old, they, they, you can look like they're very young and they're clearly over 18.

J. Larry Stine (23:56):
So we have some of that particular issue. We have the limitations with the justice Department eliminating what we can do. But here's what we've been suggesting it is, and, and it this suggestion applies to the staffing company as long with the company hiring is have HR look at, if they look young, one of the things that we're suggesting you do is to bring 'em in there. And you have the I nine documents in front of you and ask them what their birthday is. Because what's going to happen a lot of times is the real birthday is not the ones reflected on the documents you have in front of you. And if they can't tell you the birthday they have in the documents at that point, what we're recommending is at that point confront them directly and say, okay, really, what, what is your agent at that point?

J. Larry Stine (24:52):
Most of them will, will tell you what the true age is and then you say, well, when you turn 18, come back. If we're talking about the poultry industry, 'cause their policy is keep 'em out. If the documents look good, they look young and they know the birthdate and they claim they're over 18, it's past the I nine and it's none E-Verify. I don't think there's a lot more you can do about it at that particular point. The interesting thing, it is not an absolute liability standard. It is a negligent standard and the wage an hour has to show that you suffered or permitted them to work there knowing there were minor or having constructive knowledge that there were minor. And if you've done these things, you now have a defense against wager coming in after the fact and spending those six months doing an investigation and finally getting the parents to confess what the real age is.

J. Larry Stine (25:54):
Now, one of the other possibilities, if you do know that somebody's really young in the plant, you know their relatives, one of the other suggestions I've made is ask the relative, how old is the kid if they lie to you, document the memo into the file that we spoke to his uncle and his uncle says he is 19 and put it in the file. And then you can see if they're, if they come out less than 18 and you're in that type of situation where you have the 18 euro policy, let 'em go terminate them and document it. So that, that is what we're doing. I did go look on Wage and Hour to see what suggestions they had and they had a site, I pulled some notes from it. Here's what we should, they suggest that we do. When you have problems with false documents, number one, submit the kid to a medical examination.

J. Larry Stine (26:50):
And I'm not kidding that really what it said it does have a little sentence that says you might want to have some issues about privacy. My recommendation is do not send anybody for a medical exam for their age. Doctors are good, but I'm not quite certain if they lie to the doctors, you know, they're gonna have the same issue. They can be un poorly developed and be a 22-year-old crosscheck the documents, which is not a bad suggestion. If I've got two documents on the I nine, check both of 'em to see if the birth dates are the same on both of 'em. 'cause They get false documents and they're being sloppy and they can't be sloppy, then I've got two conflicting dates. At that point, I would say, you don't pass the due diligence. I'm not gonna hire you. Interviews, well, I've just talked about interviews and what we, I would recommend you ask if they're the fourth one is talk to the schools. Well, here's the problem with that suggestion is I got somebody who says they're 21, what school do I go to? And they're, you know, they're, they're not enrolled in any school a lot of, so it does, it does mean no good to do it. See, part of the problem is wage job really doesn't have any better answers. They're just hoping that we do.

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (28:11):
That brings up an interesting side point too, Larry, that you, that you make, which is that a lot of the a lot of the times, some of the, the news stories that have, that have been written about this by some very good investigative reporters in, in bigger publications like the Atlantic and the New York Times Magazine were were noting that the when unaccompanied minors come across the border, the sponsors that line up to assess them, which frequently, more frequently than not are are members of their extended family sign a pledge that they will that they will, will go to school and won't work. And, and obviously that's sometimes, as they say, honored in the breach. In other words, it's the, it is not happening. Moving back to enforcement here, I think that we talked about earlier in preparing the wage in hour division has decided to amp up the the civil money penalties that they would seek to impose in, in the event of, of determining that there's been a violation. Do you wanna talk about that a little bit?

J. Larry Stine (29:22):
Yeah. Basically Wager was sent out a memorandum on the penalties because they're opinion, honestly, they don't think there are enough. So they're trying to come up with ways to increase the enhancement of it. And basically what the memo is when you really get down to it, is there are four or five ways that they can enhance it to get it all the way up to the maximum now from where they were not doing it and lack one to decrease it. So fundamentally what's happening is with the penalty, what wage HR doing is they're trying to get it up to the point that they are opposing the maximum penalty allowed. By law for every violation there's like $15,800 per violation now, and they can multiply by violation. So for example, recently in one of them I was working with the, the minor was 15 for one week and then turned 16.

J. Larry Stine (30:27):
At least that's what wage hour claims the parents told them, but they didn't apply. So they issued a 15,800 penalty for the week was 15 and then a $15,000 for that. The other issue with Wage and Hour is they're overinterpreting their own regulations by, by that meaning they're trying to expand it even further than what it is logically. So when you read the Hazardous order tens, they're very precise and they're at times they're almost ridiculously precise. And when you point out that it doesn't meet their precision, then they come up with some very broad definitions, which has happened to us that don't seem to fit the violation. But the problem is they're taking such a hard position with a penalty. They're basically telling you, well, we don't really care. We're going to pitch it for 15 for that one. And you can go before administrative law judge and win it, probably will win it.

J. Larry Stine (31:28):
And by the time we get through winning it, and I'm gonna spend more than $15,800 to show they were wrong about penalizing us for that child because they won't violating HO 10, which you see in the industry, what you see in the press releases in the press a lot of times is that it's prohibited to work in meat packing or po. The reality is that that's not true. There's a example, there's a list of power driven pieces of equipment you can't work on if you're working in the plant, you're not working on the power driven pieces of equipment in the list you're allowed in. But the reason every company I know does 18 is, is too hard to monitor which piece of equipment somebody's in and on there, then they moving 'em so much you can't do it. But Wage Hour doesn't seem to care with the precision at this point because the publicity is so strong on em.

J. Larry Stine (32:21):
I have in years past in child laborers' cases when we haven't had political pressure, I've actually been able to sit down and show them it's not in the list of equipment and then they will confirm it. And I have had the wage hour dismiss it at the wage hour level as opposed to the legal level. But at this point, the political heat on Wage hour to force these systems just too high for them to take those considerations. And they're rather litigate it and lose it than look at it, in my opinion. And you gotta understand that, that sometimes there's political pressure on the people at Wage and Hour to do these types of things and you gotta act accordingly.

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (33:04):
Well, concern for Children has always been a, a, a leader in in, in, in political <inaudible>, I guess to pull the people to, to come up with new laws or, or enforcement policies. Well I guess we've come a long way from the days of Bag and g Larry. Do you have any kind of further commentary about about this issue? Yeah,

J. Larry Stine (33:26):
I, I, I don't want us to lose sight of the other child labor issues because of the high publicity concerning that there, there are lots of other ones and some employers have to deal with it all the way. For example, a lot of the seasonal amusement partners, Betsy, they, they got to use 16 and 17 year olds, the staff their operation and you know, and sometimes they can use 14 and 15 year olds. But when they're doing something like that, when, when you know you're going to employ someone under 18, you've got to take a little time and effort to look at it. And a lot of people do it, you know, a lot of times you go into ordinary businesses and the employer have a, a 16-year-old a would like to come work for the summer and you're perfectly well okay to do so as long as you don't want in violation, the hazard can, but it is so easy to do that.

J. Larry Stine (34:32):
I mean, like the example I used is, you know, I I I've seen this to me, they bring in one of the manager's sons to work during the summer and they put 'em out, you know, mowing along. They didn't mean to violate the, the child labor law, but they did the seasonal amusement people went into problems on the combination of the school year. The child labor reg is kind of funny because it says while you're in school you can work three hours on school day and you're limited to 18 hours a week, and then when you're outta school you can work up to eight hours a day in 40 hours. But then they define the school day as Labor Day so that if you have a school that starts out for Labor Day, it doesn't really matter. The kid is considered in school, even though your local school is not biscuit making and fast foods you gotta donate.

J. Larry Stine (35:33):
Mexican wager takes the position that you can, the 16, 17 year olds can use a dough mixer as long as they use the three lowest sizes of the hook. But if they go to the fourth highest look, but it's like C and d, you've violated the child red. I, it's, it's so Ill communicated that you feel sorry for the clients to get caught with these things because it's not really common knowledge. I mean, I know it because I've had to defend employers who had their kids making dough and, and the restaurant using the size D-ring instead of a size C. And next thing I know we're, we're fighting child labor. So while this one's the high issue, I don't think we want to consider that it is just an easy issue for everybody else. It's not, there's a lot of restaurants, seasonal workers who use 16 and 17 year olds that need to be well aware of the of the requirements. And to the extent that you can, I strongly recommend that you get a work permit because under the wage hour regulations, a work permit gives you some real protection. It under that er permit, you get a work permit even it turns out they're wrong and your employee of 15-year-old and you're, he's not violating the H of tens doing things he shouldn't, HR won't find you that that work permit is a get outta jail car for those type of people.

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (37:05):
Well we love those safe harbors, Larry, don't we like find. Right. This, this is reminding me too though of a, of another large segment of the economy that was used to be bigger than it's now, but it's still, it's still pretty significant, which is agricultural work. The rules are a little different there, aren't they?

J. Larry Stine (37:24):
Oh yeah, yeah. Under agriculture, the hazardous, or once you're 16 years of age and you're on a farm, you can do anything in agriculture. The 16-year-old is treated like the 18-year-old and all the rest of the industry and the hazardous orders under the agriculture are applied to the 14, 15 year olds, unlike the child labor regs. So, and 14 and 15 year olds in non agriculture has a list of activities they can do. And the agriculture, the 14 and 15 year olds have a hazardous order for things they cannot do, but they could do anything that's not prohibited under the hazard disorder. So they're treated very differently and you can actually go down even further in age and child labor than 14 in agriculture.

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (38:21):
Well, I know farming families that are putting 12 year olds on tractors, but if it's your own kid's, probably a little bit different.

J. Larry Stine (38:29):
Yeah, but it better be your own kid. It better not be your brother's who's not the farmer's kid because it's a violation of the hazardous or one of the hazardous orders is that you can't let them drive a tractor that is literally, literally one of is no driving a tractor. So you gotta have a 16-year-old drive the tractor. We know that we actually have a case

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (38:57):
That he was about <inaudible> when he first got on the tractor.

J. Larry Stine (39:00):
Well the, the reality is when you talk to most individuals and ask them what they did as a kid, you know, if you're like me and I grew up in a suburb, well what I would do that would be in violation was I mowed lawns, I used power vacuums, I used all that type of equipment and that all would've been a violation had I done it for that. And a lot of people see, you know, no 10 year olds are mowing lawn and don't think anything of it out on the farm driving a tractor. Yeah. I I've had a 12-year-old granddaughter drive a tractor, so I am, I I will not say where it is when I will take the fifth if anybody acts, but I have, I have seen that happen, you know, in the very, I think she was driving three miles an hour.

J. Larry Stine (39:45):
But, but yeah being a part of the family is what that was from the farm. Those are the particular issues that, that we have and the most disturbing one is how do we protect ourselves? And I think in that, the things that we can do is, the other thing I meant to mention about if you have staffing agencies, one of the things that we found out is sometimes the staffing agencies were sending pieces of paper saying, Hey, this is, you know, Javier Garcia, he's 22 years old, he is been cleared for work and Javier gives it to his brother Juan who's 15, and Juan comes in with a blank piece of paper. One of the things that, and we've been talking to staffing agencies is when they send somebody over to a client that they give 'em a picture of the person they hired so that the, the, the person they hire can't switch a piece of paper with a minor and all of a sudden then the staffing company's in trouble and their client's in trouble and nobody wants to. So one of the suggestions is that they send a picture over to the client of the person that they've taken along with the, the note this is the person. So they at least have a visualization so we can avoid that trip. And we have found that

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (41:09):
That's a, that's a good, I'm sorry. That's a good practical reminder actually. And that's the, that's, that's something that's fairly easy to implement and, and pretty hard to bypass. It, it brings up another topic which isn't certainly unique to child labor, but it's notion because you can't, the staffing agency if they made the error, the the wage and hour division is not likely to stop just with them if they believe that the staffing agency was people to work in another industry.

J. Larry Stine (41:47):
Oh. And in our cases we're the staffing industry had hired the person and they showed up with the I nine and he verified they have penalized both the staffing company and the client employer. It's Betsy, it's about 1247. I thought we would see if we could get any questions. I do have one on the screen. I've got one that says, what do you recommend if the state has eliminated the work permit? And there are states that don't do the work permit anymore. I think there's at least five or six that I'm aware of what wage hours position is, is that you need to ask them for the birth certificate. The problem I have is that it runs kind of contract to the I nine issues. You, the interesting thing is the work with the, the birth certificate's work, but what happens is you have the state ask the question, you don't in this particular case wage hours position is get a birth certificate, but I'm not quite certain we can do that.

J. Larry Stine (42:49):
I think you're more limited if you, if you're in that position. If you are having somebody you know is in school, then what I would do is talk to the school and see if they'll give you the school records and verify the the issue. So we we've come to in school Yeah. And make certain area in school or what they are even, you know, it still applies that they're minors. Does anybody else have any other questions about child labor? Any particular problems concerning this issue? It's a large area with very complex regulations. There's 17 hazardous orders and the problem is you look at it, look like they applies to one of 'em and to one industry, but wage hour has taken the position, those hazardous orders that say they're meat packing, they're not willing to meat packing anymore.

J. Larry Stine (43:50):
And they've made it clear if you read the regs, that they don't do that. So they're out there. You've got to be aware of it. You gotta know what they can do and what they can't do for 14 and 15 year olds, I think it's relatively straightforward. We pulled up the list of the jobs they can do. That's your checklist for your 14 year, 15 year olds of what they can do if you're in the business where you need to do it. I know I started working out when I was 15 at basket and Robins, you know, Scooby Ice Spring legally, by the way, even back then. So anybody else have any other questions? Anything else that we can do? Betsy got any last words?

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (44:38):
I to thank everybody for tuning in and participating and to remind folks that if they have any particular questions we generally answer the phone when it ring. So just give us a call. Right.

J. Larry Stine (44:48):
And a lot of times when we have this, we put you on the spot with a question and then I know what happens is we click off the webinar and five minutes later you go, dang it, I've got a question. And if that happens, what we recommend is that you've just simply email us at, email me at and I will answer those questions. So if you get a question afterwards or you are looking at something and trying to figure it out, send us an email and we will respond to your, your email. We do have a, a little short presentation we we'll be sending out to the emails that I don't think we've done yet, Betsy. So we'll, we'll take care of that. Also, a little bit of what we did, we put into a paper. Well,

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (45:38):
Alright, well thanks everybody and thanks Larry. It's very good to have a, have a have a, a broad unique perspective on these issues because it's all evolved over time.

J. Larry Stine (45:49):
Thank you Betsy. And we once again, we apologize for the technical difficulty. I know this wasn't quite as good as actually seeing Betsy. She's a lot more attractive than I am anyway. But that's just kind of, we spent 20 minutes trying to figure it out so we do apologize for that problem. And thank you for attending and if you got any questions after this, send us by an email and we'll be glad to answer. Thank you everybody. Bye.

Elizabeth K. Dorminey (46:16):
Thanks, bye.

webinar promo graphic, children sitting on a bench
Webinar Date: Friday, January 05, 2024
Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Time: 12:45 PM
Presenter(s): J. Larry Stine & Elizabeth K. Dorminey
J. Larry Stine
Elizabeth K. Dorminey
Status: Available On-Demand
Venue: Zoom

Listen To This Webinar

Receive Webinar Email Updates