Janitorial Company Accused of Using Child Labor

Federal investigators found children employed as industrial cleaners in Iowa and Virginia.

February 22, 2024

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has asked a federal court to issue a nationwide temporary restraining order and injunction against Fayette Janitorial Service LLC (operating as Fayette Industrial) to stop the Tennessee-based company from illegally employing children.

The filing, requested by the DOL’s Office of the Solicitor in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, was prompted by investigations by the agency’s Wage and Hour Division, which found children had been hired to clean and sanitize spaces and equipment during overnight shifts at two contracted facilities: a Perdue Farms plant in Accomac, Virginia, and Seaboard Triumph Foods LLC in Sioux City, Iowa.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, children under the age of 18 are not allowed to work in dangerous occupations, including most jobs in meat and poultry slaughtering, processing, rendering, and packing facilities.

The DOL alleges that Fayette Industrial employed 15 children in Virginia and at least nine children in Iowa on its overnight sanitation shifts. The children in Virgina were as young as 13 years old when they were first hired. The minors were assigned to clean dangerous kill floor equipment, including head splitters, jaw pullers, meat bandsaws, and neck clippers. One 14-year-old worker was known to have suffered severe injuries while at the Virginia facility.

“The employment of children in hazardous occupations is an egregious violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act that should never occur,” said Seema Nanda, Solicitor of Labor. “The Department of Labor continues to use every available legal resource to protect workers and end child labor violations. We are working diligently with other federal agencies to combat child labor exploitation nationwide.”

According to the DOL, Fayette Janitorial Service LLC provides contract sanitation and cleaning services for meat and poultry processing facilities in about 30 states and employs more than 600 workers. The DOL’s investigations into Fayette are ongoing.

For more information on the DOL’s efforts to protect children from exploitative situations in the workplace, check out its press release regarding the agency’s Interagency Task Force to Combat Child Labor Exploitation.

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