By: Malcom Chakery
Fines Issued Over Violations of Child Labor Laws Uncovered at Hawaiian Falls
Hawaiian Falls Water and Adventure Parks, which are located throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have recently been hit with several fines after it was discovered that they violated federal child labor laws by hiring underage employees. The employees, many as young as 15, were also put in charge of particularly dangerous equipment, like industrial machinery used in the park’s many rides, flame grills at the concession stands, and chain saws for groundskeeping. It is unlawful to hire young underage employees, especially those beneath the age of 16, for work that is considered specialized or dangerous in any way.
Betty Campbell, who works for the Southwest Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor, said that young workers should be given every opportunity to develop real-world skills that will translate into value within the workforce, but those skills aren’t worth the potential liabilities and damages that may be caused by underaged and unskilled workers using dangerous equipment.
The initial investigation took place at the Hawaiian Falls park in Pflugerville, and once the violations were uncovered at the first location, they were also found at five others in the state of Texas. The company was fined a total of $85,904 for labor violations at their facilities.
Five of the locations fined as a result of the thorough investigation were found in the DFW area. They include Mansfield, Roanoke, The Colony, Garland, and White Settlement. The initial location and sixth park in the group found to be violating child labor laws was the Pflugerville park. The case was settled out of court in May of 2015, and Hawaiian Falls has since adopted a policy that strictly prohibits the hiring of anyone under the age of 16.
In order to help prevent anything of this nature from happening again, Hawaiian Falls has also enacted managerial training seminars and updated hiring practices that fully comply with state and federal laws. They have yet to have a relapse with their hiring procedures, nor have there been any further allegations of underaged workers at the parks.
One of the parks in question closed down in early 2016 due to missed rent payments on the property and a terminated license from the city. The White Settlement location was nearly $1,000,000 overdue on rent, and even though the park was open for over two years, it didn’t post a single profitable quarter. The remaining Hawaiian Falls locations are still active.