LINCOLN, NEB. – The sanitation company accused of using dozens of minor-aged workers to clean plants in Minnesota and Nebraska agreed to new conditions in the ongoing US Department of Labor case.
Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) entered a permanent injunction with the US District Court of Nebraska in Lincoln, in which the business immediately agreed to comply with child labor laws at facilities nationwide.
DOL outlined the agreed terms by the company, starting with reviewing existing policies and training materials for compliance related to child labor laws.
Next, PSSI would hire a third-party consultant or compliance specialist within 90 days to provide management child labor compliance training for three years and annually after that.
The agency added that PSSI would submit to unannounced site visits for three years at six or more facilities quarterly so the compliance specialist could monitor and audit the company’s compliance with provisions.
Later, the DOL said PSSI agreed to impose sanctions, including termination and/or suspension of any management personnel responsible for child labor violations following the court order.
Other stipulations of the terms include posting the consent order and judgment at each PSSI facility where employee notices are located for no less than 60 days. The company will also have to provide a DOL publication, Fact Sheet #43, about child labor practices that violate Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
PSSI released a statement to MEAT+POULTRY saying the company was pleased to have reached a resolution with the DOL inquiry.
“We have been crystal clear from the start: PSSI has a zero-tolerance policy against employing anyone under the age of 18 and fully shares DOL’s objective of ensuring it is followed to the letter at all local plants,” a PSSI spokesperson said. “While we already have industry-leading procedures to confirm the identities of our employees – including mandatory use of the government’s E-verify system for new hires, extensive training, multiple audits, and biometrics – we wholly support working to further strengthen those policies moving forward. We look forward to continuing our critical work of helping deliver a safe and reliable food supply for all Americans.”
The investigation of PSSI started on Aug. 24 when the Wage and Hour Division received information alleging the company assigned minors to work in a hazardous occupation. In November, the division executed warrants for the company’s operations at the three plants, its local offices and at PSSI’s corporate office in Kieler, Wis.
The agency said the investigation is ongoing.
PSSI provides contract sanitation services, chemical innovations, pest prevention and other solutions for about 700 food processing facilities nationwide and employs about 17,000 workers.