Jeffrey (Jeff) H. Ruzal, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in Law360 Employment Authority, in “Why Stopping ‘Hot’ Goods Is Key to Fighting Child Labor,” by Daniela Porat. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Labor's efforts to combat child exploitation include the use of the Fair Labor Standards Act's provision on "hot" goods, an important tool that ups the ante for accountability across the supply chain, experts say.

Section 212(a) of the FLSA says that no business can ship goods interstate that were produced in a facility where there was "oppressive child labor" within 30 days of the goods' shipment. Those items are known as hot goods, and a DOL field assistance bulletin in August emphasized that the goods "may be 'hot' regardless of whether the children in question worked directly on the goods themselves."

The department's Wage and Hour Division is empowered to ask a business to voluntarily pause shipping these goods until the child labor violations are fixed, but if a business fails to do so, the division can enjoin shipments through a court order. …

Speaking from his experience as a former trial attorney in the DOL's Office of the Solicitor, Jeff Ruzal, a member of management-side firm Epstein Becker Green, said enforcement against hot goods is always a priority.

"I think it's incredibly useful insofar as it really can serve as an in terrorem for businesses or individuals who wrongfully employ minors," he said, "especially where they're in dangerous occupations, or where they're being taken advantage of in terms of the amount of work time that is being foisted upon them." …

Another factor underscoring the importance of these tools is that there is no private right of action for child labor laws, Ruzal said.

"It really does fall within the DOL's exclusive province to ensure that these laws are being enforced," he said.



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