Iowa Investigation Uncovers 57 Cases of Child Labor Violations

The Iowa Labor Commissioner's Office announced Tuesday it has completed an intensive child labor investigation at Agriprocessors, Inc. in Postville. The investigation, which spanned several months, has produced 57 cases, with multiple child labor violations in each case. A second portion of the investigation is still pending which may lead to additional cases, the agency said.

"The investigation brings to light egregious violations of virtually every aspect of Iowa's child labor laws," said Dave Neil, Iowa Labor Commissioner. "It is my recommendation that the Attorney General's Office prosecute these violations to the fullest extent of the law."

The company's alleged violations include working minors in prohibited occupations, failure to obtain work permits, exceeding the allowable hours to work youth, exposure to hazardous chemicals, working with prohibited tools and others. Iowa's child labor laws indicate that every day during which a violation of the chapter continues constitutes a separate and distinct offense.

Under Iowa law, child labor investigations are turned over to the county attorney's office for prosecution; however the county may choose to turn the case(s) over to the state's Attorney General's Office, which is what the Allamakee County Attorney's Office had previously indicated to the commission it wanted to do. The Labor Commissioner's Office said, meanwhile, it is still in the process of conducting an investigation into general wage violations at the Postville plant.

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