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September 26, 2003
Onion Grower Pays Fine for Violations of Child Labor Laws
A New Mexico onion grower has signed a consent judgment barring him from future violations of the child labor and migrant farm worker federal laws following enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.

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The department says Loyad E. Anderson of Radium Springs, N.M., was in violation of the youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by employing three children ages 8, 10 and 11 to work on June 3 in an onion field. Anderson was fined and paid $2,970 for the violation.

The department also fined the employer $500 for violating the recordkeeping and wage statement provision of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). Because the employer violated the child labor provisions of the FLSA, the "hot goods" provisions was invoked detaining the onion shipment until Anderson paid the fines and came into compliance with the law.

"In the Anderson case, children were performing a variety of jobs including bringing empty and filled onion sacks to and from the field where their parents were working," says Patty Davidson, Wage and Hour district director in Albuquerque. "Employers should be vigilantly monitoring the field to make sure children, under legal employment age who come to the fields with their working parents, are not engaged in work."

Davidson says that, for agricultural employment, local youths 10 and 11 may hand harvest short-season crops outside school hours for no more than 8 weeks between June 1 and Oct. 15, if their employers have obtained special waivers from the Secretary of Labor. Youths 12 and 13 years of age may work outside of school hours in non-hazardous jobs on farms that also employ their parent(s) or with written parental consent.

Youths under 12 years of age may work outside of school hours in non-hazardous jobs with parental consent, but only on farms where none of the employees are subject to the minimum-wage requirements of FLSA.


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