[Histonet] Legality of work

Della Speranza, Vinnie dellav <@t> musc.edu
Thu Jun 5 13:12:38 CDT 2008

Can you point me to the federal regulations you referred to that specify that individuals of a certain age are restricted from working in an environment where hazardous chemicals are used? This information would be beneficial to me.

I've enjoyed the interesting discussion stimulated by the original poster. In my mind, though, I have failed to see the "legal" issue the original poster referred to. Both the employer and parental guardian of the adolescent (pathologist/lab owner/parent) consented to the teen working in the laboratory environment. As a board certified physician he is certainly qualified to assess and understand the magnitude of any potential risks. Since we are not familiar with the layout of the lab and the specific activities  the teen was engaged in, it is difficult for us to judge to what extent the adolescent is at risk. The statement that the youngster "has handled chemicals and reagents" is too general for me to assess what the youngster is exposed to. are we talking about hematoxylin stain solution, or DAB? Formaldehyde or ethanol?

While employment regulations may vary from state to state, in my limited experience, I have witnessed provisions for teens to work part time jobs, after school/weekends and summer employment. My own daughters have had jobs in food establishments at age 15. so it is doubtful that it is illegal for an individual this age to be employed provided the state's requirements are met. And like others, I too exposed my children to the lab in the hope that they might find their own passions, or at the least, learn that the lab was not for them.

It seems to me that the original poster has a unique and wonderful opportunity to stimulate the passions of a young person that cannot as effectively be accomplished in a simulated environment outside the laboratory or at a high school career day. Looking beyond that, it is quite possible that the teen will share her experiences with friends/peers who will indirectly learn about histology and some may even be inclined to explore further as they deliberate about career options. Likewise, the poster had, through the teen's experiences, the opportunity to make a great impression on her boss/employer which may have gone a long way to repair what sounds like a tenuous relationship based upon her description of the work environment. It isn't clear that she considered all sides of this issue before contacting the authorities which is most likely to have a destructive result.

That aside, we have very limited opportunities to share our passions with young people in ways that may stimulate their curiosities. I suspect that this was the intention of a well meaning father who wanted to share his passions with his daughter.

Vinnie Della Speranza
Manager for Anatomic Pathology Services
165 Ashley Avenue  Suite 309
Charleston, South Carolina 29425
Tel: (843) 792-6353
Fax: (843) 792-8974

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Jackie M O'Connor
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 1:20 PM
To: Bernice Frederick
Cc: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu; 'Karla Arrington'; histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: RE: [Histonet] Legality of work

My husband has a job with a large international corporation.  One of his
responsibilities is to make sure that third party vendor suppliers
overseas do not employ children under the age of 16.  A lot of these
factories employ peasants from farms who provide support to the entire
farm family.  They want the jobs, but this leaves them open to abuse from
Also, the working conditions have to meet US standards.  By today's
standards, children are not allowed to with or around hazardous chemicals.
  Doesn't matter what state you are in - the federal laws pretty much
cover it.   On the other side of the coin, when my own kids were younger,
I would bring them to work with me on Saturdays where they would help me
change the processor.       Yeah, but knowing now what I didn't know then
- I won't even let my granddaughter in my lab.    I even change my clothes
before I go to see her after work.   I fear the question, "Mommy, why does
Grandma smell like formaldehyde and rats?".    She's only one year old,
but you have to nip these questions in the bud.
Bottom line - why would any parent want their kids exposed to the
dangerous chemicals we work with?   But, again, I do send two of my
daughters to work every day to interact with possibly rabid animals.
As you can tell, I'm undecided on this topic.

"Bernice Frederick" <b-frederick <@t> northwestern.edu>
Sent by: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
06/05/2008 11:14 AM

"'Rene J Buesa'" <rjbuesa <@t> yahoo.com>, "'Karla Arrington'"
<freckles9660 <@t> yahoo.com>, <histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu>

RE: [Histonet] Legality of work

Not to mention that 15 year olds would not even have the education to do
on-line program. There are requirements as we all know. Scary, scary
Does this pathologist know the meaning of malpractice and wouldn't the AMA
be of help in this as well as ASCP?

Bernice Frederick HTL (ASCP)
Northwestern University
Pathology Core Facility
710 N Fairbanks Court
Olson 8-421
Chicago,IL 60611

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Rene J
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 7:51 AM
To: Karla Arrington; histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: Re: [Histonet] Legality of work

Here is how I see your problem:
  1- you have already contacted the Child and Labor Dept. about this
so it is very likely (if they are doing their job) that the will "pay a
visit" to the lab and talk with the pathologist.
  2- if that is what is going to happen you are going to be in trouble.
  3- as the "youngster's" trainer you are accomplice to the violation,
because you know her age and keep training her.
  4- if this pathologist is also calling names to others, he is an
jerk that thinks is owner, not only of the place, but of the world.
  5- I don't think this is the right place to work so sooner or later you
should try to find a new place to work.
  6- if that is going to be how this whole issue is going to end, I think
that you should do what is correct and tell him that you are not willing
participate in violating the laboral laws and stop training his daughter.
  You will sleep better and perhaps this fellow will realize that he is
doing something wrong and that you are not willing to accept the
  At least that is what I would do. Consult with some close friend or
member and present a formal complaint with Child Labor BEFORE doing #6. If
he fires you because of this then you will have PROOF that you complained
against him because of a law violation and will be able to claim
unemployment, even if he says that you were fired for "work substandard
performance", you will have proof that this is not the case, but revenge
against you.
  Good luck!
René J.

Karla Arrington <freckles9660 <@t> yahoo.com> wrote:

I have roughly 2 dilemmas.  The first is of a legal matter.  The
for a week has had his daughter (15 years old), helping
me out in the histology lab.  He wants her to get training from me, then
the on-line HT program.  She has handled chemicals
and reagents.  I am very uncomfortable with this.  I have called the Child
Labor Laws department for our state and it is illegal
for a 15 year to be in a laboratory. Needless to say working with blood
borne pathogens.  My most concern is the following.  As her "teacher",
can I or other co-workers can be held accountable if this is illegal and
found out? This pathologist mind you is the owner of the business.
I am afraid if I say something, I will get fired. Where do I go from here
if there is someone who has a similar circumstance happen to them.
The other scenario is that this same Pathologist has called a tech a
slandering name, twice.  There is no "upper management" to go to
since he is the owner of the business. I was wondering if this is
harassment and can this be used to nullify a contract signed
by both parties for employment.

freckles9660 <@t> yahoo.com

Histonet mailing list
Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu

Histonet mailing list
Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu

Histonet mailing list
Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu

Histonet mailing list
Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu

More information about the Histonet mailing list