Robert Nickerson Farms in Wellton Arizona has been fined $48,000 for child labor violations, the Department of labor announced last week. State officials reported finding children aged 9 to 13 working during last summer’s okra harvest. The six children employed by Robert Nickerson Farms worked without written parental consent, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions.
“Having children under the legal age of employment work in agriculture, and without written parental consent is not only wrong but against the law,” said George Friday Jr., regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division’s Western Regional Office. “We must do everything that we can to protect the most vulnerable workers among us.”
According to the Labor Department, children under the age of 12 can be employed in agricultural work with parental consent and on small farms not subject to federal minimum wage standards. With over 80 employees, the Nickerson farm is classified as a large farm and thus not exempt from child labor guidelines.
While the children in question were not employed during school hours and were paid minimum wage, officials declared that their employment was still a major problem and declared the fine as a part of a nationwide crackdown on child labor violations.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer