Connecticut nails Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has been nailed for child labor violations by the state of Connecticut. The State Department of Labor has fined Wal-Mart stores in Putnam, Norwalk and Hartford for 69 violations. These violations parallel similar violations of child labor laws throughout the country and world.

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell involved herself directly in the action against Wal-Mart. She asked the state’s Wages and Workplace Standards Division to investigate after the U.S. Department of Labor charged Wal-Mart in February with numerous violations between 1999 and 2001.

In February, Wal-Mart paid $135,540 to settle federal charges relating to stores in Arkansas, New Hampshire and Connecticut, while denying the violations. The violations still exist in Connecticut, Rell told the New Haven Register.

The Labor Department’s report stated that 337 minors worked at 32 Connecticut Wal-Mart stores between 2003 and 2005. Rell said the most serious violations were at the Putnam store, where minors used hazardous equipment.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal praised the state’s investigation and said he will continue to examine the matter. He called for increased penalties for child labor law violations. “We will protect our children from hazardous equipment and excessive hours, no matter how powerful or wealthy the employer,” he said.