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Wal-Mart obligated to pay $135,540 for violating child labor laws
02/26/05 12:00pm

The U.S. Department of Labor announced on Monday that Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, agreed to pay $135,540 last month for violating the youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Investigations revealed that Wal-Mart allowed 85 teenage workers to operate hazardous equipment at stores in Arkansas, Connecticut, and New Hampshire resulting in one teenager being injured while operating a chain saw.

The Act prohibits the employment of minors under age 18 in any occupation determined hazardous by the Department of Labor, and has issued 17 specific hazardous occupation orders identifying these prohibited occupations.

Under the agreement terms, Wal-Mart admitted to no wrongdoing, guaranteed full compliance with the youth employment provisions of the FLSA in the future and will receive 15 days' notice "of any audit or investigation at the stores covered by this agreement."

The Labor Department has been criticized for going soft on Wal-Mart, especially in giving the world's largest employer a 15 days' heads-up before department investigators drop-in.

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