child labor laws

So Second Son’s manager is a control freak.

She deems it appropriate to bully 17-year-olds into working more hours than is legal in our fair state under threat of being fired; a necessity brought on by the fact that she’s such a stark raving lunatic two people quit and one got fired in the past 7 days.

The turnover at this “restaurant” has been ~ 20 employees over the past year. I am actually quite proud of Second Son for sticking it out this long, but I think maybe enough is enough.

Out of curiosity, I decide to peruse our state’s child labor laws, and find this interesting list of prohibitions regarding tasks one might find in the workplace:

Restricted Occupations

Agency: Energy, Labor & Economic Growth

  • Minors 14- to 17-years-old may work in businesses where alcoholic beverages are sold as long as the sale of food or other goods is at least 50 percent of gross sales. Minors less than 16 years of age may not work where alcohol is consumed regardless of sales percentage.
  • Minors under the age of 18 cannot sell, serve, or furnish alcoholic beverages.
  • For information on Liquor Control Commission regulations concerning selling and serving alcoholic beverages visit http://www.michigan.gov/lcc or call 1-866-893-2121.

Minors covered by the act may not work in any occupation determined by act or rule to be hazardous.  Examples of hazardous work include, but are not limited to:

  • Contact with hazardous substances, chemicals, explosives or radioactive substances.
  • Driving and work as an outside helper (pizza delivery, etc.).
  • Jobs in the mining, logging and sawmill industry.
  • Jobs using woodworking machinery.
  • Brazing, welding, soldering or heat treating, for those less than 16 years of age.
  • Work on construction sites, roofing operations, excavation or demolition sites, bridges, streets, or highways.
  • Slaughtering, butchering, meat cutting, meat packing, rendering, or tanning.
  • Occupations involving power driven equipment, tools, saws, or machinery. (Bakery machines, paper product machines, meat slicers, metal-forming, punching and shearing machines).
  • Occupations involving the operation of, assisting in the operation of, and riding on hoisting apparatus including forklifts.  Minors 16 to 17 years old may work under elevated equipment.

Minors covered by the act may not work in any occupation determined by administrative review to be hazardous under the authority of Section 3.  Examples of hazardous work include, but are not limited to:

  • Occupations involving assembling, disassembling, and operating power-driven amusement rides.
  • Jobs with exposure to contagious diseases and bloodborne pathogens.
  • Operating a boat or other watercraft on a public waterway.
  • Loading and unloading goods from conveyors for those less than 16 years of age.
  • Handling loaded firearms of any gauge or caliber including those that are air powered.
  • Operating easy tippers used to lift garbage carts for emptying into dumpsters.
  • Operating golf carts and gator type utility vehicles on public roadways, for those less than 16 years of age it’s entirely prohibited.
  • Occupations as go-cart spotters for those less than 16 years of age.
  • Removing filters, pouring through filters, and moving receptacles containing grease or oil when the temperature is in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Un-jamming, servicing, or repairing Kansmackers.
  • Jobs using power-driven mowers, edgers, weed eaters, hedge clippers, tillers, wheelbarrows, thatchers, aerators, and snow blowers for those less than 16 years of age.
  • Life guarding at natural bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers.
  • Filling prescriptions, working behind the counter where prescriptions are filled or delivering pharmaceuticals by car, foot, bicycle, and/or public transportation.
  • Dispensing propane (LP) gas.
  • Operation of power-driven tire changer used to mount or dismount tires from vehicle rims.
  • Occupations involving door-to-door and street sales for profit making companies including mobile sales crews for those less than 16 years of age.
  • Jobs using chef, boning, butcher, meat cleaver, filet, and skinning or machete knives.

I’m good until I get to the 10th bullet in the last category.



This is listed so casually, between a long list of things I recognize: golf carts and filters and grease or oil and power-driven mowers and hedge clippers and natural bodies of water, it is obviously expected that I know what this is.

I think perhaps it has been included as some kind of a joke by a malicious state employee, perhaps to see if anyone is paying attention, but alas, no, this is an actual thing.

Who knew?


2 Responses to “child labor laws”

  1. March 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I went through the same thing with my daughter. A boss at a resturant was a tyrant. Once he asked her too fix a towel holder high up on a wall with a knife! I forget the entire story but it was crazy and she ended up telling him so in no uncertain terms. He was being very rude and crazy. She pointed the knife at him and told him what she was going to do with it if he didn’t get out of her way and let her out of whatever room she was in and that she was not going to do whatever stupid thing he wanted her to do. Why are people so mean to their workers?!

  2. March 29, 2011 at 4:17 am

    Sounds like this woman should not hold the title of manager. 20 people fired or quit in a year? Not a good track record. Sadly, your son is likely to run into her kind again. They are out there in force. I find it hard to understand, sometimes, how some people get promoted into managerial jobs.

    I can’t read the labor laws — they’re sort of grayed out. Was that intentional?

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