Case Prompts Reminder of Minor Labor Laws

POSTED: 3:33 AM PDT April 12, 2012    UPDATED: 3:40 AM PDT April 12, 2012 

Oregon Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian used a recent contested case decision to remind employers Thursday that using workers under age 18 means complying with state child labor requirements, which are enforced by the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Avakian, who as BOLI commissioner issues the final order in contested civil rights and wage and hour law cases, said the recent decision upholding a fine against Schultz Manufacturing, a motocross parts manufacturer in Oregon City, perfectly illustrates why employers should turn to BOLI for guidance first.

?Here, a kid got hurt using a band saw, and child labor law says explicitly that he shouldn?t have been using that saw,? Avakian said. ?It?s very fortunate that he was not more seriously injured, and it?s a perfect example of why employers should consult with BOLI before bringing minors in to work.?

Avakian pointed to BOLI?s Technical Assistance for Employers Program, whose role is educating employers about the requirements of civil rights and employment laws in Oregon.

Use of child labor is especially regulated, with employers required to obtain a certificate to employ minors before bringing a young person in to work.

The application process allows BOLI staff to screen for working conditions that may violate state or federal law, such as the use of power-driven machinery by minors, which is strictly prohibited by law.

?This injury and the fine against the employer were 100% avoidable,? Avakian noted. ?The Wage and Hour Division and BOLI?s employer assistance staff are available to answer questions and help make Oregon businesses successful, but we can?t help if the employer doesn?t call or email us.?

BOLI TA offers a convenient FAQ on child labor and is currently developing a handbook on child labor specifically, which will complement the current 2012 Wage and Hour Laws Handbook and ensure that Oregon employers understand the limitations on minors in the workplace.

Employers with specific questions can also consult TA by phone (971-673-0824) or email ( for more information about complying with child labor law and other wage and hour requirements.