The U.S. Department of Labor has fined House of Raeford $12,400 for illegally putting minors to work in a hazardous job. The DoL reported this week that it found two 17-year-old employees operating an electric knife at its plant in Teachey, N.C., reports the Charlotte Observer. The fine is at the higher range of sanctions levied in such cases.

The federal agency did not release the names of the two underage workers discovered at the Teachey plant, but Richard Blaylock, director of the Raleigh District Office, said that it’s critical for employers to comply with all federal and state regulations “intended to keep our youth safe on the job.”

“This situation is particularly disappointing because the company previously was cited for the same type of violation,” he said.

House of Raeford previously was found to have employed minors during an immigration raid in 2008. One of the employees was a 15-year-old girl who said that she worked the night shift at the company’s Greenville, S.C., plant, working 10-hour shifts cutting muscles from freshly killed birds.

House of Raeford officials acknowledged hiring two 17-year-old workers, but said it was due to “an unfortunate administrative error in 2011.” They said the company is committed to complying with state and federal laws. A corporate compliance officer will regularly review active employee lists to verify employment requirements, they said.

“The company was very cooperative with the Department of Labor in this matter and has put new policies and procedures in place to avoid this oversight in the future,” the company said in a statement.

Source: The Charlotte Observer