August 31, 2023
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The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2023-3 (Guidance) to instruct its field agents on the prohibition of “hot goods” as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). “Hot goods” are those that are produced in a business that uses oppressive child labor. These goods can include “wares, products, commodities, merchandise, or articles or subjects of commerce of any character, or any part or ingredient thereof” and intangibles like ideas, intelligence, and news. If a portion of a good is the product of child labor and the rest of the good is not, the entire product is still considered a “hot good.” The FLSA prohibits the shipment or delivery of hot goods in interstate commerce if the goods were removed from a producing establishment within 30 days following a child labor violation.
The Guidance provides several clarifications to the language included in the FLSA prohibition. “Oppressive child labor” is any violation of the Department of Labor’s Child Labor Regulations and Orders. The act of being “produced” covers a broad range of activities: production, manufacturing, mining, handling of goods, sorting, storing, packing, and labeling. “In or about an establishment” includes performing occupational duties on the premises regardless of whether workers are employed by the owner, or performing work in close proximity if the work duties are directly related to the activities of the producing establishment.
The Guidance also clarifies the good-faith defense provided by the FLSA. Alleged violators can defend themselves by showing they acquired the goods in good faith and relied on written assurances that the goods were produced in compliance with FLSA child labor provisions. The Department of Labor has the authority to assess monetary penalties and file a civil action in federal court to enjoin the shipment of goods via a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or permanent injunction. The Guidance also provides examples to illustrate violations and compliance.
- Review hiring procedures and working conditions of minors for compliance.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on control for hot goods.
Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2023 ManagEase