Employers who will be hiring minors under 18 years old should review in advance the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's prohibitions and restrictions applying to those workers.
It is always important to observe these requirements strictly, and the U.S. Labor Department will not hesitate to impose civil money penalties when it finds violations. In recent months, for example, USDOL has assessed penalties of approximately:
◊ $21,000 against three retailers in one mall in New Jersey;
◊ $50,000 against a Pennsylvania pallet company;
◊ $20,000 against two grocery stores in Wisconsin;
◊ $53,000 against 14 grocery-store franchisees in Alabama and Mississippi (part of a USDOL "multiyear enforcement initiative"); and
◊ $28,000 against nine California locations of a nationwide child-themed entertainment business.
A pertinent selection of our child-labor-focused posts can be accessed here. USDOL has also provided employer "self assessment" tools for non-agricultural occupations and specifically for employers in the grocery and restaurant businesses.
Remember also that most states and some other jurisdictions have their own child-labor limitations.