What may have seemed like a dream job to a 12-year-old this past summer turned out to be a violation of child labor laws by the Washington Wild Things.
The baseball team, a member of the Frontier League, an independent minor league, was recently hit with 38 citations of the Fair Labor Standards Act for, among other things, employing a 12-year-old as a bat boy and more serious violations of employing six 14- and 15-year-olds to operate deep fryers, grills and pizza ovens.
The team paid $40,000 in civil penalties on Wednesday and agreed not to violate the labor laws again, according to the Department of Labor.
The Wild Things were also cited for employing 31 14- and 15-year-olds past the hours that are permissible for children of that age to work.
Brian Heeter, the assistant director of the Pittsburgh office of the Department of Labor's wage and hour division, said federal law states youngsters under the age of 16 are not allowed to work past 9 p.m., but the team had younger workers manning concession stands past 10 p.m. in some instances.
This was not the first strike against the team.
The Wild Things also paid a fine in 2009 for violations of child labor laws. "We had the same violations in 2009, and we come back in four years and they are doing the same thing," Mr. Heeter said.
In 2009, the team was fined for having two bat boys who were younger than 14 in addition to 20 violations of youngsters working past permissible hours.
The team's attorney, Cami Davis, did not return calls seeking comment Friday.
Ann Belser: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1699.