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It's a start

The inspector general of the Labor Department has decided to investigate its agreement to give Wal-Mart Stores 15 days' notice before investigating any stores facing complaints of child labor violations, according to department official

Several investigators for the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division who insisted on anonymity for fear of retaliation said giving 15 days' notice would delay inquiries involving youths using hazardous machinery.

Without admitting any wrongdoing, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $135,540 to settle complaints involving 85 youths.

The amount of the fine is an embarrassing pittance for a company that just announced $3.2 billion in profits in the last quarter alone,"

In one incident in 2000, Maine fined Wal-Mart $205,650 for 1,436 such violations.

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