MINNEAPOLIS – Monogram Foods officials agreed to pay approximately $30,000 to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of illegally employing two underaged workers.

A consent decree on June 30 showed that the US Department of Labor (DOL) alleges that Monogram hired two minors at its Chandler, Minn., facility. The plant employs 400 people and makes meat snacks and sausages.

Court documents stated that the Wage and Hour Division initiated an investigation and found two minors working at the plant who were believed to have used falsified identification documents during the employment process. According to the company, they were immediately terminated.

Monogram said it has a zero-tolerance policy for ineligible underage labor and fully cooperated with this process.

“We take our legal obligations and our longstanding commitment to compliance very seriously, and immediately terminated the two ineligible workers who appear to have used falsified documentation relating to their identity or age in the hiring process,” the company said. “We have voluntarily made significant and immediate companywide changes to our existing policies and procedures to prevent this from occurring in the future. Every day, we strive to be a valued partner in our communities and meet our high standards of safety, compliance, trust and integrity.”

Information from the decree and the DOL stated that Monogram is hiring a compliance specialist to prevent any future violations for three years at Chandler plant and at Monogram’s other facility for two years. 

Details released by the DOL showed that the department notified Monogram about an objection to shipments of goods from its Chandler plant. DOL issued an "Objection to Shippment" letter on April 24 after the Fair Labor Standards Act was potentially violated. Monogram said that those goods have since been released. 

“As we made clear earlier this year, the Department of Labor and the Biden-Harris administration are committed to combating the increase we have seen in child labor violations,” said Jessica Looman, principal deputy Wage and Hour administrator for the DOL. “In this case, Monogram should have never allowed two children to operate hazardous equipment. After our initial investigation, Monogram Meat Snacks and its parent company have agreed to take important steps to prevent future child labor violations.

The consent decree also stated that it resolved the civil action regarding the case and was signed by Karl Schledwitz, chief executive officer of Monogram Foods.

During February, a previous DOL investigation led to a $1.5 million fine and based on claims that PSSI employed at least 102 workers from 13 to 17 years of age to clean meatpacking plants.

Along with the Chandler location, Monogram operates and employs workers in meatpacking locations in Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.