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HomemidwestMinnesota meat processing plant accused of employing minors to pay $300K in...

Minnesota meat processing plant accused of employing minors to pay $300K in penalties

A meat processing company in Minnesota on Friday agreed to pay $300,000 in penalties after an investigation found it employed children as young as 13 to work in hazardous conditions, such as operating meat grinders, while they worked overnight shifts and longer hours than allowed by law.

Tony Downs Food Company, based in Mankato, also agreed to obey child labor laws and hire a compliance specialist as part of a consent order with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

“In this case, Tony Downs has agreed to take important steps to prevent child labor violations,” department Commissioner Nicole Blissenbach said in a statement. “All employers should provide training to their employees to help recognize potential child labor violations and take steps to ensure they are not employing children in violation of state and federal laws.”

The labor department found that Tony Downs was aware of the issue. It also learned that minors were working under assumed names and were not native English speakers, according to the complaint.

Minnesota law prohibits employers from hiring minors to work in hazardous conditions. Employers also are prohibited from requiring employees under the age of 16 to work after 9 p.m., more than eight hours a day or more than 40 hours a week.

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