A Kentucky Department of Labor investigation of franchisees found that two of the 300 children illegally working at McDonald’s included two 10-year-olds.
The Department of Labor said a 10-year-old child received little or no pay at a McDonald’s in Louisville, agency investigators said. The Louisville store franchisee was one of three McDonald’s franchisees fined a total of $212,000 by the department.
The agency said Bauer Foods LLC of Louisville, which operates 10 McDonald’s outlets, employed 24 children under the age of 16 to work longer hours than is legally allowed. Among them were two children of 10 years. The agency said the children sometimes worked till 2 am but were not paid.
“People under the minimum employment age order food, clean stores, work at drive-thru windows and operate checkout lines,” the Labor Department said Tuesday. One child was allowed to operate the fryer. Prohibited work for workers under the age of 16.
Franchise owner Sean Bauer said the two 10-year-old boys, who were quoted in a Department of Labor statement, were visiting their parents who were night managers and not employees.
“All ‘operations’ were conducted in the presence and direction of the parents without the approval of franchise organization management or leadership,” Bauer said in a prepared statement Wednesday.
Federal child labor regulations severely limit the types of work children can do and the hours they can work.
The Kentucky investigation is part of an ongoing effort by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to combat child labor abuse in the Southeast.
Karen Garnett-Civil Manager, “Often employers do not follow child labor laws that protect young workers. “Under no circumstances should a 10-year-old be working in a fast-food restaurant kitchen with hot grills, ovens and deep fryers.”
Additionally, Walton-based Archways Richwood LLC and Louisville-based Bell Restaurants Group I LLC allowed 14- and 15-year-olds to work more than the permitted hours, the department said. Archway Richwood did not immediately respond to a call for comment, and Bradcat Management Inc., of which Bell Restaurant Group is a member, declined to comment.
McDonald’s US spokeswoman Tiffany Boyd said, “These reports are unacceptable, extremely troubling and violate the high expectations we have for the entire McDonald’s brand.” “We are committed to ensuring that our franchisees have the necessary resources to create a safe workplace for all employees and comply with all labor laws.”