The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said its workplace safety inspectors witnessed a "willful pattern of ignoring hazardous working conditions" by Dollar General after it visited three Dollar General stores in Georgia this year.
DOL found examples of hazardous conditions in stores, including incidents where boxes of merchandise sat stacked "unsafely," with hard-to-access electrical panels in stores and obstructed exit routes. A release said that DOL has proposed over $6.5 million in penalties to the company after it inspected 78 Dollar General locations across the United States since 2017. That includes more than $450,000 in penalties for inspections at stores in Georgia.
The three latest inspections by DOL racked up nearly $1.3M in penalties for the company.
Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in a DOL statement, “Dollar General continues to demonstrate a willful pattern of ignoring hazardous working conditions and a disregard for the well-being of its employees.” Parker said, “Despite similar citations and sizable penalties in more than 70 inspections, the company refuses to change its business practices. OSHA will take all necessary enforcement actions and pursue all available remedies against Dollar General until it fixes the disconnect between its business model and worker safety.”
DOL leadership said Dollar General's alleged pattern of lax worker safety standards was seen at five other store locations in the Southeast, including in stores in Mobile, Alabama and Dalton, Georgia. The company was cited for failing to keep receiving areas clean and orderly and stacking materials "in an unsafe manner."
Dollar General, headquartered in Goodlettsville, TN, has 15 business days from the date of receipt to comply with DOL citations and penalties. The company can also request a meeting with the area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or contest the findings before an OSHA commission.
Parker said in the scathing statement, “Dollar General continues to make it obvious that profit means more to them than the safety of their employees." He said, “The U.S. Department of Labor will make every effort to hold them accountable for their failures.”
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Dollar General operates both Family Dollar and Dollar Tree.