The children were found working in the poultry factory where the teenager died last year

They pretended to be children Among the workers on the killing floor at an Alabama poultry plant operated by a company previously responsible for the teenager’s death, according to court filings.

Investigators with the Wage and Hour Division earlier this month raided by Mar-Jac Poultry, where they exposed “oppressive child labor,” including “children working on the floor on bird bones and cutting up birds,” according to court filings obtained by the Hattiesburg American. Authorities were executing a civil search warrant at the time.

“The children worked at the facility for months, and the defendant continually removed merchandise from the facility throughout, including after the search warrant and [Wage Hour Division’s] resistance,” the statement said.

At least five minors were found “working on the slaughter floor, hanging live chickens for slaughter on hooks and cutting meat from the carcasses, which is a dangerous occupation prohibited for minors.” – said the investigators.

mar-jac bird Since then, he denies that he knew that minors were working in the facility. ABC News said in a statement that all of its employees were hired with documents showing they were over 18. It also claimed that the workers, who government officials say are minors, were not working on the slaughter floor but were processing poultry elsewhere in the facility, which is not illegal under federal child labor laws.

“Mar-Jac will continue to vigorously defend itself and expects to prevail in this matter,” the company said. “Mar-Jacques is committed to complying with all applicable laws.”

FILE - Three-day-old chicks surround a feeder at Mar-Jac Poultry's hatchery in Gainesville, Ga., Thursday, March 18, 1999.  (AP Photo/Ric Feld)
FILE – Three-day-old chicks surround a feeder at Mar-Jac Poultry’s hatchery in Gainesville, Ga., Thursday, March 18, 1999. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

After the discovery, the Department of Labor sought a court order to stop the company from selling and shipping “child-stressed labor-tainted poultry.” Mar-Jacques responded by saying it would have to lay off more than 1,000 workers if the facility is forced to close temporarily. Even just 30 days would have “seismic economic consequences for society,” it said.

It comes nearly a year after the death of 16-year-old Duvan Perez, who died while cleaning a poultry processing machine at the Mar-Jacques plant. Federal regulators earlier this year called its death due in July 2023.avoidable, dangerous situation” that there should not be a single worker, “let alone a child.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Mar-Jac Poultry with 14 serious and three “non-serious” violations and proposed a $212,646 fine for Perez’s death. His mother has Also filed a wrongful death lawsuit Against Mar-Jacques and his two employees, as well as against the recruitment agency that brought his son to the concert. It alleged that the defendants “acted willfully, willfully, wantonly, knowingly, maliciously and/or were grossly negligent and with reckless disregard for the rights and safety of the deceased and others similarly situated.”

A judge has not yet decided whether to block the sale and transport of products from Mar-Jac Poultry’s Alabama facility.

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