With the summer coming up, the tradition of high school students working part-time or seasonal jobs is kicking off. This is a tradition that goes all the way back to when families began migrating to cities and schools began offering summer breaks. But it’s important to remember that young workers are a specially protected group under the Fair Labor Standards Act (or “FLSA”). With these protections, youth workers cannot engage in certain jobs. This article will go over some of those restrictions.

There are two classifications of youth workers: 14-15-year-olds and 16-17-year-olds. The younger group is very restricted in the number of hours and the types of jobs they can accept. Specifically, they cannot work in manufacturing or hazardous jobs.

Conversely, the second group can work an unlimited number of hours in any non-hazardous job. So the real question is: what is a hazardous job? The Secretary of Labor defines a “hazardous job” as any job that is detrimental to health or well-being. Some of the most common examples are: allowing youth employees to load trash compactors, operate heavy machinery, operate meat or dough slicers or drive on public roadways. This list is explanatory only; there is a much more expanded list that can be found on the Department of Labor website.

If you are an underage worker and your boss is having you work in a hazardous or some other improper job, then you may want to speak to an attorney. You have may have a valid employment claim.