Kids used sharp knives, power equipment: California poultry plant to pay $3.5M fine

Child labor violations fined at poultry processor in California  USA TODAY

Kids used sharp knives, power equipment: California poultry plant to pay $3.5M fine

Southern California Poultry Processor Fined $3.8 Million for Labor Violations

A Southern California poultry processor has been ordered to pay $3.8 million in back wages and fines after multiple labor violations were uncovered by the federal government. The company, Exclusive Poultry Inc., owned by Tony E. Bran, was found to have illegally employed children as young as 14 to work with sharp knives. This case highlights the importance of addressing labor violations and promoting sustainable development.

Labor Violations and Child Labor

  • The investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that Exclusive Poultry Inc. employed minors in dangerous jobs, including using sharp knives to debone poultry and operating power-driven lifts to move pallets.
  • The minors were found to be working more hours than allowed under child labor laws.
  • The company also retaliated against workers who cooperated with investigators and failed to pay proper overtime wages.

Penalties and Consent Judgment

  • As a result of the investigation, Exclusive Poultry Inc. and Tony Bran have agreed to pay $3.8 million in total.
  • This includes $300,000 in punitive damages, $100,614 in back wages to workers, and a penalty of $201,104 for the child labor violations.
  • The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has entered a consent judgment, which prevents the company from shipping any poultry produced in violation of labor laws and requires monitoring for three years to ensure compliance.

Rise in Child Labor Violations

  • The investigation comes at a time when child labor violations are increasing, despite the federal law banning the practice since 1938.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor reported a 69% increase in children being employed illegally by companies.
  • In fiscal year 2022, the department found that over 3,800 children were employed by 835 companies in violation of labor laws.

It is crucial to address these labor violations and work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. SDG 8 aims to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. This includes eradicating child labor and ensuring fair wages and working conditions for workers.


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