The Labor Department has discovered hundreds of minors have worked at multiple McDonald’s locations in several states. In a release, it confirmed its Wage and Hour Division found two 10-year-olds working at a McDonald’s in Louisville, Kentucky.
The division also discovered several McDonald’s franchisees (Bauer Food LLC, Archways Richwood LLC and Bell Restaurant Group I LLC) had hired 305 children to work more hours than legally allowed, as well as perform tasks that are prohibited by federal law, The Hill reported.
According to the release, children have been working in 62 locations operated by Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio franchisees. As a result, they have been fined more than $212,000 for hiring minors.
“Too often, employers fail to follow the child labor laws that protect young workers,” Karen Garnett-Civils, the Labor division’s district director in Louisville, said, according to the release. “Under no circumstances should there ever be a 10-year-old child working in a fast-food kitchen around hot grills, ovens and deep fryers.”
Bauer Food reportedly employed 24 minors under 16, making them work longer than legally allowed. In addition, two 10-year-old employees were allegedly on the clock as late as 2 a.m., and one was allowed to use a deep fryer, which is prohibited for workers under 16.
Bauer was fined close to $40,000 for its violations. However, it denies approving 10-year-olds to work at the restaurant; the children’s parent is a night manager they visited. Bauer added any work performed was at their parent’s direction and not authorized by management or leadership. The LLC assured that it took steps to educate employees about policies regarding children visiting a parent or guardian at the restaurant.
Archways Richwood reportedly employed even more minors than Bauer — 242, all under 16. The franchisee has been fined more than $140,000 for violations.
Bell Restaurant Group I, on the other hand, allegedly allowed 39 minors between 14 and 15 to work longer than children are permitted, two of whom even worked during school hours. As a result, it received more than $29,000 in fines for the violations.
Tiffanie Boyd, the senior vice president and chief people officer of McDonald’s USA, told The Hill that the division’s findings are “unacceptable, deeply troubling and run afoul” of what the company stands for. She added the company is committed to ensuring franchisees have access to the resources needed to maintain a safe and compliant workplace.
“It is not lost on us the significant responsibility we carry to ensure a positive and safe experience for everyone under the Arches. I know how important it is that every restaurant fosters a culture of safety. As a mother whose teenage son proudly worked at our local McDonald’s, I feel this on a very personal level,” she said.