Blue Bayou fined for labor violation

The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’ water and amusement park $25,295 for allowing minors to work more than eight hours a day.

However, Elizabeth Haynes Harrison, the park’s director of marketing and media relations, said the overages weren’t more than 20 minutes and were a function of the size of the park and where time clocks were placed — circumstances that have since been changed.

The Labor Department said it reviewed attendance and payroll records for hundreds of minors between March 2009 and March 2011 and found 49 minors in the 14- to 15-year-old category were allowed to work more than eight hours per day, a violation of the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Harrison said that there were no 14-year-olds, and that the violations involved overages of between five and 20 minutes.

She said the park, which has 1,800 employees, is 40 acres, and workers don’t always clock out in a timely manner.

She said the park began having multiple time clock stations this season, which began in May.

The Labor Department noted the park agreed to provide time clocks or timesheets at all workstations, also noting the park would structure employee schedules in a manner that will minimize the likelihood of minors working more than eight hours a day and ensure that managers monitor minors’ work hours to avoid violations.

“The laws and regulations for young workers are very specific, and employers in violation will be penalized,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest,in a news release. “This employer, which hires hundreds of Baton Rouge-area minors during the summer months, must comply with the regulations and restrictions that apply.”

Under the FLSA, workers younger than age 16 are subject to specific time and occupation restrictions. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may work in certain occupations outside school hours, but not before 7 a.m. or later than 7 p.m., or 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day.

Minors may not work more than three hours on a school day or eight hours on a nonschool day. They may not work more than 18 hours in a school week or 40 hours in a week when school is not in session, according to the labor department.