Tennessee Cleaning Company Fined $650,000 for Illegally Hiring Children, Some as Young as 13, to Clean Dangerous Slaughterhouses

By Trisha Andrada

May 07, 2024 09:07 AM EDT

A cleaning company in Tennessee has agreed to pay nearly $650,000 after a federal probe found it had employed over 20 children to clean dangerous slaughterhouses in Virginia and Iowa.

Companies in the US are not allowed to hire anyone under 18 to work in meat processing plants due to the risks involved.

A Tennessee cleaning company paid almost $650,000 after a federal investigation found it had hired juveniles to clean meat processing factories. 
(Photo : CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Cleaning Company in Tennessee Ordered to Stop Hiring Children

On Monday, the US Department of Labor said in a press release that Fayette Janitorial Service agreed to a number of terms, including the end of employment of minors and the imposition of civil fines totaling approximately $650,000.

The Labor Department accused Fayette of employing minors at two slaughtering and meat packing facilities: one in Accomac, Virginia, at Perdue Farms and another in Sioux City, Iowa, at Seaboard Triumph Foods LLC. 

The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found that 24 children, some as young as 13, were employed to conduct overnight sanitation at the two meat processing facilities.

The children's jobs were to sanitize meat bandsaws, head splitters, jaw pullers, and other dangerous equipment. The investigation revealed that a 14-year-old boy got severely injured as he cleaned the drumstick packing line belt at the Virginia plant.

In February, it was announced that Perdue Farms and Seaboard Triumph Foods had ended their contracts with Fayette, according to The Associated Press.

Read Also: Apple Illegally Interrogated Staff, Confiscated Union Flyers in NYC: US Labor Board

Firms Taking Strong Stance Against Employing Children

Perdue Farms said last year that the use of child labor is entirely unacceptable to them. At the time, it started its own inquiry into the matter. 

"We are appalled by these recent allegations as they are not representative of who we are as a company and what we stand for," the company said in a press statement.

A spokesperson for Fayette had previously told The AP that their company has a zero-tolerance policy for minor labor. The agreement stated that Fayette must employ a third-party consultant for at least three years to ensure compliance with child labor rules and facilitate training. 

The company will also have to establish a hotline for people to report any concerns about the illegal employment and abuses of children.

Read More: Florida Man Sues 3 Pharmacies; Alleges Prescribed Adderall Led to Psychosis

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