Photo: The Kroger supermarket at 3095 Goodman Road E. in Southaven. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has announced findings of an investigation into the Kroger store at 3095 Goodman Road East at Getwell in Southaven. Investigators have found the store allowed three minor-aged workers, all 16-and-17-years old, to load a trash compactor with the keys in the machine to allow operation.
The Labor Department investigators also found the employer allowed a 15-year-old employee to work more than three hours on a school day and more than 18 hours during a school week, all violations of the federal child labor standards.
As a result, Kroger has been fined a total of $13,673 in civil penalties.
“Child labor laws are intended to ensure young workers obtain valuable work experience safely without interfering with their safety and education,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Audrey Hall in Jackson, Mississippi. “Employers who hire minors must know the regulations that govern this practice. As the end of the school year fast approaches, employers should review child labor laws and contact the Wage and Hour Division if they have questions.”
The Kroger Co. Inc. is one of the nation’s largest retailers, operating more than 2,700 multi-department supermarkets in 35 states and the District of Columbia. It also has 45 distribution centers in the U.S. and employs nearly 500,000 workers.
In an emailed response, a Kroger representative wrote, “At Kroger, the safety of our associates and customers is our top priority. This was an isolated incident at one location and once we were made aware of the error, we took immediate action. We have paid the fine and reaffirmed our processes and standards to make sure this does not occur again in the future.”
The complete news release is available on the Department of Labor’s website.