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Cranmore Mountain Resort fined for violating child labor laws

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 17. 2018 12:06PM
Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway is shown in a December 2015 photo. (JOHN KOZIOL/CORRESPONDENT FILE)

MANCHESTER — A company that operates three ski resorts in New England — including Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway — has agreed to pay a $21,500 fine and implement “extensive corrective measures” following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department into allegations of child labor law violations.

Federal officials announced Thursday that The Fairbank Group LLC will take corrective action to resolve violations of the child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and ensure future compliance at its three recreational resorts, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

The company has also paid a $21,582 penalty.

Department of Labor investigators found that the three resorts — Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock, Mass.; Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, and Bromley Mountain Ski Resort in Peru, Vt. — owned by The Fairbank Group LLC employed a total of 44 minors, ages 14 or 15, outside of the hours restricted for that age group under FLSA’s child labor provisions.

According to investigators, some youths worked more than 8 hours on non-school days, past 7 p.m. during the school year, or more than 3 hours on school days, while others worked more than 18 hours during a school week, all more than allowed under the law.

A spokesman for the U.S. Labor Department said the investigation looked at employment practices at the three resorts between February 2016 and March 2018. During that time the teens were employeed as ticket sellers and ticket checkers, playroom attendants in a children’s center, housekeepers, fitting rented helmets and boots for customers, and park attendants.

Under the terms of a compliance agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the resorts will train supervisors and instruct minors on child labor requirements, use timeclock software to ensure minors’ work hours stay within the limits set by law, and help supervisors identify minors by providing them with special nametags or uniform labels.

The resorts will also appoint compliance directors to oversee minors’ employment activity at each location.

“This agreement demonstrates the Fairbank Group’s commitment to provide a safe and healthy on-the-job experience for the hundreds of young workers employed at its resorts,” said Wage and Hour Division Northern New England District Director Daniel Cronin.

In a statement to the New Hampshire Union Leader Ben Wilcox, president and general manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort, said Cranmore has “a longstanding history of successful employment of youth workers in the Mount Washington Valley.”

“The violations reported by the U.S. Department of Labor were related to the length and time of shifts worked by minors,” said Wilcox. “These isolated violations were flagged by routine internal audits by management and corrective measures were already in effect prior to the U.S. Department of Labor audit. The resort’s management team places a strong emphasis on compliance with state and federal youth employment laws.”

“We encourage employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division for assistance and to make use of the many tools we provide to help them understand the child labor and others laws and avoid violations,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Carlos Matos, in Boston.

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