The Department of Labor fined Bosco’s comic book store in Anchorage for violating child labor laws.


Investigators found several infractions during an audit. Bosco’s was cited for two of its 15-year-old employees working outside allowable hours. Children under 16 can only work three hours on a school day and can’t work past 7 p.m. during the school year.


Anchorage assemblymember John Weddleton owns Bosco’s. He said one of his 15-year-old employees was tasked with taking out the garbage. Weddleton said he didn’t realize the dumpster had an industrial grade trash compactor. It’s against the law for anyone under 18 to use that type of equipment.


“We know young employees are not supposed to run machinery. We don’t have them vacuum. Their feet have to stay on the floor, so they can’t use a stepladder. We’re aware of this,” said Weddleton. “We know the scheduling and we’re careful about it. We don’t think that would be worthy of a $5,000 fine.”


Jeanette Aranda, the director of the Seattle office of Wage and Hour Division, said that is a “common infraction,” for companies. She said many people are unaware it’s illegal for young employees to even be around heavy equipment, even if they’re just throwing out the trash.


Aranda said Bosco’s fully cooperated and “came into compliance quickly.” Weddleton agreed to pay a $4,650 fine.


Investigators also found two of the employees were underpaid. Weddleton said he compensated them the $126 in lost wages, gave them a bonus and an apology.


Weddlton said going forward he doesn’t plan on hiring anyone under 17. “Having gotten a severe penalty for what seemed pretty minor I wouldn’t want to risk another infraction and be labeled a chronic offender.”


KTVA 11's Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.