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Questions about Child Labor Laws

During the Industrial Revolution, young children -- often under the age of five -- were employed in production factories with dangerous, and often lethal, working conditions. In addition to being placed in an unsafe environment, children were often underfed, made to work long hours and were deprived of adequate sleep. Today in many developed countries, the use of children as laborers is now considered to be a human rights violation and is outlawed. While some poorer countries may allow or tolerate child labor, activists are working hard to improve child labor laws around the world. Below are a few of the top child labor related questions that have been answered by Lawyers on JustAnswer.

What is the definition of child labor?

Child labor is usually defined as the full-time employment of a child that is under the minimum legal working age. In many states children can work at the age of 16. Many times child labor is considered forcing an underage child to work.

Why were child labor laws put in place?

Child labor played an important role in the Industrial Revolution from its outset, often brought about by economic hardship. Employing young children in factories and mines and as chimney sweeps and even using them in coal mines, children would crawl through tunnels too narrow and low for adults. In the early 1800’s Factory Acts were passed to regulate the working hours of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills to 12 hours per day. This law paved the way for other types of child labor laws in America to be passed and implemented over the years.

In Missouri when is a child able to work in the regular work force and the work not be considered child labor abuse?

In Missouri once the child reaches the age of 16, they are able to work in the regular work force. For minors under the age of 16 the child labor laws would normally apply. If you’re not sure if your child can legally work, ask a Lawyer on JustAnswer.

In Ohio what are the hours a minor child can work and not violate the child labor laws?

In Ohio, minors of ages 14 and 15 are not allowed to work between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm or work more than 3 hours during the school week. On a non-school day, a minor can work between the hours of 7:00 am and 9:00 pm and can work 8 hour days, regardless of the parents’ permission. For minors aged 16 and 17, when on a school day they cannot work before 6:00 am or 7:00 am. They cannot be working after 8:00 pm, or after 11:00 pm Sunday through Thursday. They can work as many hours a day or week as they want to.

If a 13 year old wants to volunteer in a small restaurant is that breaking any of the child labor laws?

In most cases, as long as the child is just volunteering and not receiving payment for the volunteer work or duties that they do, this may not be seen as a violation of child labor laws. Also, the child needs to understand that they are doing this job voluntarily and do not need to conform to specific working hours, put in a certain number of hours. The child should also be aware that the work done is not for pay.

In today’s society, child labor is much more hidden. Instead of in factories and sweatshops, most child labor occurs in the informal sector, selling products on the street, working in farming communities, and often children are hidden away in housing projects away from labor inspectors and the media’s eye. If you suspect child labor issues, or need more child labor information, bring your questions to Lawyers on JustAnswer.
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Recent Child Labor Questions

  • Our circus is incorporated in the state of Maine, and operates

    Our circus is incorporated in the state of Maine, and operates with 52 full time employees who travel throughout the sites together in motor homes and trailer truck rigs. The ages of the workers range from 5 to 85 and we have a number of live animals which travel with us: 3 white tigers, 2 male and 2 female elephants, one of whom is pregnant, and one baby elephant, 40 dogs, 10 horses, and one lion. Our lion tamer is from Africa, and she is neither a U.S. citizen, nor does she have a green card. (oops). We serve food at all circuses, but we utilize local vendors for that. In Springfield, one of the vendors serves beer, although none of our other locations serve alcohol. We bought an old cruise ship for our trip to London. Our captain is an independent contractor hired specifically for our crossings.



    We will perform this year in 4 places: Atlanta Georgia; Springfield IL; Bangor Maine; and London England (TCO I).




    1. What laws, administrative and municipal rules, agencies, permits, town rules, administrative and federal bodies, etc will we have to appease to be able to take our circus to each place? Child labor laws? Do they apply if all of our workers are children of other employees? What if they are children of the owners? Can they be trapeze artists?

    2. What regulatory hurdles will we have to overcome to transport our animals from state to state and overseas?

    3. Will International laws apply to us?
  • 1. What legislation created a national minimum wage, mandatory

    1. What legislation created a national minimum wage, mandatory overtime premium for qualified workers, and restrictions on child labor? (Points : 5)
    Equal Pay Act
    Civil Rights Act
    Employee Retirement Income Security Act
    Fair Labor Standards Act
    None of the above


    2. A local union may represent: (Points : 5)
    Many workers from a single workplace
    Workers in a single occupation from several workplaces
    Multiple occupations in multiple workplaces
    All of the above
    None of the above


    3. On a cold winter day, a group of employees decides that the temperature in their manufacturing plant is unbearably cold. Together, the employees approach their employer and request that the heat be turned up. The employer: (Points : 5)
    Must collectively bargain with this group of employees over the plant temperature
    May ignore the employees' request
    Must turn up the heat at the request of the employees
    Can fire the employees for insubordination
    All of the above


    4. The typical union contract duration is: (Points : 5)
    1 year
    5 years
    3 years
    Open-ended


    5. Since the 1950's union membership in the public sector has increased along with union membership in the private sector. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    6. According to the mainstream economics school, the role of the government is to protect individual worker rights through legislation such as minimum wage laws, safety and health laws, and income protection benefits (e.g., unemployment compensation). (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    7. When workers protest wages, hours and/or working conditions by refusing to leave the shop/plant floor, it is known as a sit down strike. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    8. A yellow dog contract is a promise by employers to hire only union workers at their place of business. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    9. During the early 1900's, unions were viewed by the law as voluntary organizations of individuals and, since U.S. law valued individual liberty and freedom above all else, unions and workers were allowed relative freedom to use whatever means they could to protect their wages and working conditions. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    10. It is illegal for an employer to voluntarily recognize a union just because it has a majority of union authorization cards signed; union representation can only be decided by secret ballot vote. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    11. Which of the following is not likely to be considered illegal under the National Labor Relations Act? (Points : 5)
    Firing an employee who is trying to organize a union.
    Improving wages, benefits and working conditions just before a representation election.
    Lies, misrepresentation, and distortion of facts.
    Questioning employees about whether they intend to vote for the union.


    12. When unions typically represent a limited group of employees in a single workplace, bargaining is said to be decentralized. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    13. Upon request, an employer has an obligation to provide information such as job evaluation data, health and safety statistics, and wage information to the union if it is necessary for representing the workers effectively. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    14. Annually, fewer than 3 percent of the contracts that are opened for negotiations end up in a strike. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    15. It is illegal for employees to cross their own union's picket line. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    16. Traditional U.S. union contracts provide strict guidelines, but are not legally-enforceable in the United States. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    17. Quality of working life programs introduced in the 1970s were largely designed to address problems with worker fatigue, boredom, and alienation that were associated with mass production. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    18. Fair trade and free trade are basically the same concepts. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    19. Across the world, labor relations systems are converging to a common set of policies and practices. (Points : 5)
    True
    False


    20. Union leaders are faced with several roles which, at times, conflict with each other, placing them in the role of "navigator." (Points : 5)
    True
    False
  • Hi, thank you for taking the time to read over my questions.

    Hi, thank you for taking the time to read over my questions. I'm currently 20 and am a resident of Tennessee. When I was 15 years old, I was employed by a pizza parlor. I had an accident one day when I was loading onions into an industrial vegetable dicer and another employee activated the machine, smashing my fingers. To this day I have scars and dulled sensation in my right middle finger.

    I just recently discovered that it was illegal under Tennessee child labor laws for me to be using that machine. I also just found out that when my employer paid my medical bills they gave my parents cash and avoided going through their insurance. I also foolishly expected to regain complete sensation, of which I haven't.

    Do I have any right to compensation? I was a minor at the time and didn't have the power to bring legal actions against my employer as my parents brushed it under the rug. I'm afraid that the statute of limitations is up, but I had no idea what my rights were in this and had no clue that had so blatantly disregarded the law and then weaseled around it.
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