AUGUSTA, Maine -- Wal-Mart Stores has agreed to pay $205,650 for violating more than 1,400 child labor laws in Maine, the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards here said last week.
Violations were found at all of the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain's 20 discount stores and Supercenters in the state.
The majority of the violations involved teens working more daily and/or weekly hours than allowed under the state's child labor laws, Lynne Lamstein, director of outreach and education for the bureau, told SN.
The violations also included teens working as many as 13 days in a row, exceeding the limit of six; and teens starting work too early or working too late, Lamstein added.
The bureau first noticed apparent child-labor violations at a Wal-Mart stores in Rockland and Biddeford in 1995, and issued a warning, Lamstein said. A full investigation was triggered in 1997 when the Bureau was researching an unrelated matter and found Wal-Mart was still in violation.
The fine was the largest ever assessed by the bureau, said Lamstein, adding that $71,000 will go toward educational programs on child labor laws.
Wal-Mart audited its own records to assist the investigation, Tom Williams, company spokesman, told SN. "We learned a lot about how cautious we have to be in the area of time-keeping," he said. "If a worker is supposed to get off at 4:00, we cannot let them stay until 4:10 or 4:15. We're going to tighten our procedures as a result."