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McDonald’s franchise was fined for child labor violations




LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two 10-year-olds are among 300 children who worked illegally at McDonald’s restaurants, a Labor Department investigation of Kentucky franchisees found.

Agency investigators found the 10-year-olds received little or no pay at a Louisville McDonald’s, the Labor Department said. The franchisee for the Louisville store was among three McDonald’s franchisees fined a total of $212,000 by the department.

Louisville’s Bauer Food LLC, which operates 10 McDonald’s locations, employed 24 minors under the age of 1[ads1]6 to work more hours than legally allowed, the agency said. Among them were two 10-year-old children. The agency said the children sometimes worked as late as 2 a.m. but were not paid.

“Below the minimum age for employment, they prepared and distributed food orders, cleaned the store, worked at the drive-in window and ran a register,” the Labor Ministry said on Tuesday, adding that one child was also allowed to use a deep fryer, which is a prohibited task for workers under 16.

Franchisee owner-operator Sean Bauer said the two 10-year-olds cited in the Labor Department statement were visiting their parents, a night manager, and were not employees.

“All ‘work’ was done at the direction of — and in the presence of — the parent without authorization from the franchisee organization’s management or leadership,” Bauer said Wednesday in a prepared statement, adding that they have since reiterated the child visitation policy to employees.

Federal Child Labor Regulations set strict limits on the types of jobs children can do and the hours they can work.

The Kentucky investigations are part of an ongoing effort by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to stop child labor abuses in the southeast.

“Too often, employers fail to follow the child labor laws that protect young workers,” said division director Karen Garnett-Civils. “Under no circumstances should a 10-year-old child ever work in a fast food restaurant around hot grills, ovens and deep fryers.”

In addition, Walton-based Archways Richwood LLC and Louisville-based Bell Restaurant Group I LLC allowed minors ages 14 and 15 to work beyond permitted hours, the department said. Archway Richwood did not immediately return requests for comment, and Brdancat Management Inc., of which Bell Restaurant Group is a part, declined comment.

“These reports are unacceptable, deeply troubling and contrary to the high expectations we have for the entire McDonald’s brand,” said McDonald’s USA spokeswoman Tiffanie Boyd. “We are committed to ensuring our franchisees have the resources they need to promote safe workplaces for all employees and maintain compliance with all employment laws.”



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