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US Dept. of Labor: Charleston Walgreens employed 12-year-old worker

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 4:07 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 7:34 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston location of the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain is in violation of child labor laws, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

A Walgreens store located at 1115 Old Town Rd. in Charleston failed to comply with federal labor laws setting minimum age standards and limiting the number of hours and times a minor-aged employee can work.

The department’s wage and hour division found the store allowed a 12-year-old employee to work before reaching age 14, the minimum age for employment in non-agricultural occupations covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, a news release stated.

“We take any allegations of minors working under the age of 14 very seriously, especially if it’s non-agriculture,” U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialist Colin Trimble said.

The investigation also found that the store allowed the minor to work more than 8 hours on a non-school day, more than 18 hours during a school week and after 7 p.m. on multiple days, which violates work hour standards for employees under 16 under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Walgreens could not provide the required documents to prove they paid the minor over a two-month period. The department found Walgreens did not maintain records of pay and lacked records of hours worked and the date of birth for the worker.

The department assessed Walgreens with a $7,034 civil money penalty for the child labor and recordkeeping violations and recovered $368 in back wages for the youth.

Trimble said the investigation reviewed a two-year period between July 2019 and July 2021. The incidents took place in April and May of 2021.

“Minors under the age of 18 who decide to work they deserve safe working experiences that don’t jeopardize their health, wellbeing, or education,” Trimble said.

Trimble also said they tend to find child labor violations in certain industries where minors are more likely to be employed, like retail, restaurants, grocery stores, or recreational establishments like marinas and golf courses.

“We prioritize the protection of young workers regardless of the industry they’re working in,” Trimble said.

Live 5 reached out to Walgreens, but they said they would not be making a statement at this time.

For more information about child labor laws, click here.

You can also contact the agency’s helpline at 866-4US-WAGE.

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