12 On Your Side: Ga. Department of Labor investigating Terror Town

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email
Teens and their parents gathered at a local park Monday night to demand payment for their work at Terror Town. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 14, 2011)

Teens and their parents gathered at a local park Monday night to demand payment for their work at Terror Town. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 14, 2011)

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Georgia Department of Labor is investigating possible Child Labor Law violations against Terror Town.

News 12 On Your Side first reported that a group of workers, some minors, did not receive pay for work at the haunted house Terror Town during the month of October.

An anonymous complaint was made to the Georgia Department of Labor that children as young as 14 were working without a state required worker's permit and past required hours.

The State of Georgia requires anyone under the age of 16 to have a worker's permit, which only qualifies them to work until 9 p.m. Anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 wanting to work after 9 p.m. must get a state permit that allows them to work those hours. The Georgia Department of Labor says no one at Terror Town had either permit.

Manager Justin Hawkman told News 12 during a meeting with employees that "it's hard for one person to keep in control of over 90 kids" and that they worked "Thursday through Sunday every week for five weeks."

Joseph Mudge, 15, was hired without a permit at Terror Town. He says part of his job was to let visitors pelt him with paintballs.

"For someone who is under 16, and even 16 and up, it's pretty hard to find a solid job," he said.

The law says children cannot work in unsafe environments:
"No minor under the age of 16 shall be employed or permitted to work ... which the Commissioner of Labor may declare by regulation dangerous to life and limb or injurious to health ..."

However, Terror Town management required workers to sign a liability form which states:
"I am aware these activities are possibly hazardous ... I could be seriously injured or even killed."

The liability form did not require a parent's signature and many parents told News 12 they never even knew about it.

The owner of Terror Town would not comment on the investigation except to say he would cooperate. The hiring manager would not return News 12's phone calls.


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