Visitor Question

Teenager severely injured at work due to federal labor law violation…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Youngstown, Ohio)

My brother was 17 and at work. He was an employee of a temp agency at a landscaping company. His boss at the landscaping company’s job site told him to work on equipment forbidden by FLSA/Minor Labor laws. They knew it was wrong because the temp agency told them one week and then again the day before that kids weren’t allowed to split wood. They argued and told the temp agency that was stupid.

They agreed during both conversations not to have minors split wood. My brother was instructed to split wood the very next day after the landscaping company’s owner argued and agreed. My brother’s finger was amputated because he was instructed to work on the state and federally prohibited occupation. He is now getting workers comp.

Doesn’t their gross negligence in breaking federal labor laws allow him to recover other money? Thanks for any information you can provide.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

The State of Ohio strictly prohibits employers from hiring directly, or by means of another person (in this case the temporary employment agency) persons under the age of eighteen (18) years to work in the following occupations and on the following equipment:

  • Occupations involved in the operation of power-driven circular saws,
    band saws and guillotine shears, or
  • Power-driven woodworking machines

Based on the facts, the temporary employment agency and the landscaping company were apparently in direct violation of Ohio’s Child Labor laws.

In almost all cases, workers who become injured while performing their normal and customary work duties are limited to compensation for required medical treatment and wage loss benefits. Pain and suffering and punitive damages are normally not covered.

However, when it can be shown an employer acted in a grossly negligent manner or displayed a willful and wanton disregard for the safety and well-being of a worker, especially a minor, the employer may be subject to compensating a worker for pain and suffering and, in some cases, punitive damages.

Punitive damages are a form of compensation ordered by a court (meaning a judge) to be paid by a defendant to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. Punitive damages are awarded only for the purpose of “punishing” the defendant for his or her conduct.

It is rare for an employer to admit acting in a grossly negligent manner or admit a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of a worker. This is not a case you or your brother would be able to pursue on your own. To seek compensation in the form of pain and suffering or punitive damages will require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Seek one out immediately.

Learn more here: Amputated Fingers & Loss of Other Body Parts

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim.

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