Springdale grocery cited for working 15-year-olds too much on school nights

Federal labor law caps work at three hours on school days, 18 hours during school weeks

May 22, 2017 at 10:40 am

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against Springdale’s Delicias Supermarket for allegedly underpaying its workers and giving three 15-year-olds too much work on school days.

Beginning on Aug. 11, 2014, the store on Northland Boulevard and its owner, Ignacio Perez Negron, “repeatedly” violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the agency contends. It said Delicias and Perez:

• Paid their workers less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

• Did not pay overtime, or at least 1.5 times their regular rate of pay, to workers who put in more than 40 hours of work per week.

Employed 15-year-old kids for hazardous duties such as operating electric meat-processing and slicing machines.

Used 15-year-old workers for more than three hours on school days, more than eight hours on non-school days, more than 18 hours a week when school was in session, more than 40 hours a week when school was out and after 7 p.m. on school days.

The seven-page complaint does not cite dates when Delicias violated those federal laws, only that it did so repeatedly after Aug. 11, 2014. It said the violations involving minors amounted to “oppressive child labor” under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which became law in 1938.

A Labor Department spokeswoman said she did not know if the teenaged employees were related to Perez. Perez did not return a phone call for comment Friday.

The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett. The Labor Department is asking Barrett to order the store to comply with the law and to pay the wage shortfalls, interest and court costs.

CONTACT JAMES McNAIR: [email protected], 513-914-2736 and @JMacNews on Twitter