El Nuevo Bodegon, a grocery store located on Totowa Avenue, has been fined more than $40,000 and sued for violating labor laws in its employment of a teenager, who was injured operating a meat grinder in the store.
The teenager, 17-year-old, was working in the store’s meat section, operating a meat grinder and slicer, which eventually resulted in the amputation of his right arm; the “minor suffered the amputation of his right arm below the elbow when it was crushed by a meat grinder he was operating in the store,” according to the United States Department of Labor.
Angel Torres, the operator of the grocery store, and Mi Esquina Corp, the parent company of the grocery store, have been named in a lawsuit filed by the department. Mr Torres’ company violated a law, Fair Labor Standards Act’s Hazardous Occupations Order No. 10, that expressly prohibits the employment of minors in the operation of “power-driven meat processing machines such as meat slicers, saws and meat choppers, and also prohibits minors from cleaning the equipment, including the hand-washing of the disassembled machine parts.”
The department also uncovered the lack of employment record for the minor as is required by law – the company had no record of the youth’s age or any other information. It was for the lack of records that the company was fined $40,350. A hearing is due on the fine.
“This minor suffered a life-changing injury because he was allowed to perform prohibited, hazardous jobs,” says Joseph Petrecca, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Northern New Jersey District Office.