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MONTVALE, N.J. - The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. will pay more than $242,000 to settle claims it violated federal child labor laws, according to an Associated Press report.
The U.S. Department of Labor brought the charges in a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York. According to the suit, the violations occurred between June 15, 2000, and May 15, 2003, and involved A&P and Food Emporium stores throughout New York State.
A&P did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement. The government claimed the supermarket chain improperly allowed workers younger than 18 to operate freight lifts and elevators; operate, load and unload cardboard box balers; and clean and operate meat slicers and dough mixers.
The charges are similar to those that resulted in a near-record $490,000 in penalties the chain paid in 1993 in a case involved more than 900 violations at stores around the country, according to AP.
As part of the settlement, A&P will designate a senior member of its management team as a "child labor coordinator" to direct compliance efforts throughout the chain. The coordinator will set up a toll-free telephone number for employees to report future violations and will establish training programs to teach guidelines for employing minors.
A&P also agreed to post warnings and age-restriction stickers on all hazardous equipment and to lock all cardboard-box balers when not in use.