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City of Orem fined for child labor law violations

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OREM — The City of Orem was fined over $16,000 for employing children younger than 16 after 9 p.m., officials said.

Investigators discovered that Scera Park Pools, a recreation center in Orem, employed 25 children under the age of 16 after 9 p.m. during the summers of 2017 and 2018, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees under 16 can only work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., except between June 1 and Labor Day. During the summer, hours may be extended until 9 p.m. Children under 16 cannot work any later.

"In addition, (employees under 16) must work outside of school hours, not more than three hours on a school day, not more than eight hours on a non-school day, not more than 18 hours during a week when school is in session and not more than 40 hours during a week when school is not in session," the department's news release states.

Orem City director of recreation Karl Hirst said the workers were scheduled for three hours, but were clocking in a few minutes early or a few minutes late, which is a violation of federal law.

There was also a discrepancy between state and federal laws, according to Hirst. The teens were being scheduled until 9:30 p.m., which is permitted under state law, but not federal law, Hirst said.

He said the city has paid the fine and complied with every request federal investigators have made.

City employees have gone through extra training, and the city has put new policies in place to make sure the same mistakes aren't made again, Hirst added.

"We put safeguards in place that it would never happen again and we’ve moved forward," he said.

The city is no longer hiring lifeguards at the pool who are under 16, according to Hirst. Workers also are being scheduled for shifts of two hours and 45 minutes so they do not go over the limit if they clock in slightly early or late, he added.

Federal auditors conducted a random check at Orem City last fall that revealed the violations, Hirst said. No city employees were disciplined or lost their jobs after the audit, he added.

"We immediately took corrective action inside the city," he said. "We’ve just owned that we weren’t in compliance with federal law and we’ve moved forward."

Contributing: Ray Boone, KSL TV

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