Monday, December 11, 2006

What would you do?

The answer to this problem seems pretty straight forward and people will probably think I'm stupid for even questioning what should be done, but it's more a matter of should I get involved or is it none of my business.

The following is from the State of Illinois regarding the employment of teenagers under the age of 16:

To protect the safety of Illinois teenagers, and place a priority on their education, minors age 14 or 15 may work, but not without first obtaining an Employment Certificate from their local high school or school administration office.

You may work:

During the school year:
*between 7 AM and 7 PM
*up to 3 hours per school day but not more than 8 hours per day when school & work hours are combined
*up to 8 hours on a non-school day
*up to 24 hours a week, but not more than six consecutive days

During summer break June 1st through Labor day:
*between 7 AM and 9 PM
*up to 48 hours a week, but not more than six consecutive days

*Most work for persons in their private homes, such as baby-sitting and yard work.
*Minors may sell and distribute magazines and newspapers, and/or engage in agriculture pursuits outside of school hours and 13 year olds can work as golf caddies.

Employers who work 14 or 15 year old teens without having a work permit on the premises, are subject to fines by the Illinois Department of Labor. Children under age 14 are not employable. (see Exceptions above)

My daughter has a friend that is 14. She got a job this past summer, while she was still 13 (think she turned 14 in late August/early September), at a local ice cream parlor a couple of her siblings work at. I knew at the time it was illegal for her to be working since she was underaged and didn't have a work permit from school, but didn't say anything for a couple of reasons.

The first being that I wasn't concerned for her safety at the time. It's a very busy place during the summer, with lots of kids working there and the manager was on site every time we went in there. Plus it's located on a busy road in the same shopping center as a quickie mart so there were police frequently patrolling the area or camped out there trying to catch speeders.

The other reason I didn't say anything was because I knew this girl needed money. She is the youngest of 5 or 6 siblings and her parents don't make a lot of money. Sure they provide a home and food for the family, but they pretty much refuse to buy the other necessities of life, like clothing. Most of the clothes my daughter's friend wore throughout the school year belonged to one of her older sisters who was already in high school and had a job so she could buy her own clothes. Whenever her parents did buy her something, they insisted she pay half the cost. I always asked her how she was expected to pay half when she was too young to work but she would never respond other than with a shrug of her shoulders.

Anyway, we stopped in there tonight and now I'm very concerned for this girl's safety. Because business is obviously slower during the winter, there were only two people working daughter's friend and another girl who was probably 16 or 17. There were no adults on site to supervise these girls. All I could think was what happens if someone comes in and tries to rob the place, or worse, since there were just these two teens there.

I even mentioned my concern to my daughter and she then tells me that the manager almost had her friend working alone one night. A 14 year old, working a store alone! The only reason she didn't end up alone was because her sister was available to go in and work with her that night.

I'm 100% sure the manager/owner is still breaking the law, because we were there after 8 pm, which is well past the 7 pm the law says her friend can work to during the school year; and the combined work & school hours was over the 8 hour limit. I'm also pretty sure that there still is no work permit. Question is, is it any of my business to get involved? I'm not this girl's parent, nor am I the parent of any of the other kids that work there.

If I call the hotline the state has and report what's going on, while I may be protecting these kids, I will also make some of them lose their jobs and there really aren't that many places willing to hire 14 & 15 yr olds. Like I said, it's a no-brainer and I should probably call and report what's going on, but I honestly don't know if I should be involved. It should be up to the parents to protect their kids and know what the hell is going on.

What would you do?


Blogger mariecoppla said...

If you are a concerned parent-of course you should get involved! Most states do require a permit for minors to work. I know Massachusetts does I am not quite sure about Nevada.

10:15 AM, December 12, 2006  
Blogger Polar Bear said...

I don't know, Sid. This is a tough one. But I think I'm leaning towards reporting them.

I also think that it is a disgrace that the parents make their own daughter pay for clothing. I believe that parents should provide all the necessities of life (yes including clothing), at least until the child is old enough to go to college and make their own money.

1:08 PM, December 12, 2006  
Blogger Patient Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog (and blogging!) but thought I'd leave you a comment and say hello....and also suggest something else?

If I didn't misunderstand, you say that you know the girl who is working at this place? Perhaps a sort of intermediate step would be to discuss the matter with her parents? Then perhaps they could make the decision?

3:46 PM, December 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope I would have the nads to make that call, anonymously or otherwise if necessary. You see a situation where a) the law is being bent or broken, and b) there is a potential danger to kids who are not old enough to handle the situation. No matter how much they tell us otherwise, 14 is still a kid, and when the shit hits the fan they might not know enough to just duck and let it pass.

You might be costing a few kids a chance to earn a little money, but you might also help to prevent an assault, robbery, or other violent crime.

8:46 PM, December 12, 2006  

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