Fort Worth-based company cited for underage employee illegally using forklift, lost wages

A Titusville, Pennsylvania, pipe manufacturer that’s part of a company based in Fort Worth is being cited for violating child labor and overtime wage laws, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The manufacturing company had to pay $10,000 in back wages for employee damages.

The Department of Labor discovered WL Plastics Manufacturing LLC allowed a young employee to illegally operate a forklift in an investigation of how the 17-year-old employee suffered a minor injury at the company.

Illegally operating a forklift is a hazardous occupation under federal child labor law, which prohibits workers under 18 from operating hazardous equipment, according to the Department of Labor.

The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division assessed a $6,399 civil money penalty against WL Plastics Manufacturing as a result of the child labor violation, which the employer paid.

During its review, the division also determined that WL Plastics Manufacturing failed to pay proper overtime wages to 60 employees by not including safety bonuses in their wage calculations. The employer’s action led to a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The division recovered a total of $10,361 back in wages and liquidated damages for the affected workers.

“Minors should never be employed to do unsafe work. It is the employer’s responsibility to not only protect young people from being hurt in the workplace, but to also ensure all employees are paid fairly,” said John DuMont, Wage and Hour Division district director in Pittsburgh. “The Wage and Hour Division will hold employers accountable when they fail to comply with federal law.”

Founded in 2000, WL Plastics Manufacturing LLC is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of solid wall polyethylene pipe products with nine industrial locations in Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The company is based in Fort Worth.