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McDonald's franchises face more than $200,000 in fines for child-labor law violations

Federal investigators say they found more than 300 minors, including two 10-year-olds, were working illegally, the Labor Department said in a statement Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
Keith Srakocic
/
AP
Federal investigators say they found more than 300 minors, including two 10-year-olds, were working illegally, the Labor Department said in a statement Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

Three McDonald's franchisees are being fined more than $200,000 after breaking federal child labor laws, including employing, but not paying two 10-year-olds, the Department of Labor said Tuesday.

Bauer Food, Archways Richwood and Bell Restaurant Group – which operate 62 locations across Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio – collectively had 305 minors working at their restaurants illegally, the agency found.

They must pay $212,544 in civil penalties, the DOL said.

Bauer Food had two 10-year-olds cleaning the restaurant, manning the drive-thru window and preparing and sending out food orders, the DOL said. They sometimes worked until 2 a.m., and one was operating the deep fryer, a duty that is only allowed by employees age 16 and up.

Bauer Food additionally had 24 minors under the age of 16 working longer hours than legally permitted. Bauer Food must pay $39,711.

Fourteen is typically the minimum age required to be employed, though can vary "depending upon the particular age of the minor and the particular job involved," the DOL said.

Federal child labor laws state that 14- and 15-year-olds must work outside of school hours and cannot work more than three hours on a school day and eight hours on a non-school day. They also cannot work more than 18 hours in a school week and 40 hours in a non-school week. They can only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., except between June 1 and Labor Day, when the workday is extended to 9 p.m.

Bell Restaurant Group had 39 employees, ages 14 and 15, working hours beyond the legal limit, including during school hours. It must pay $29,267 in penalities. The DOL also was able to recoup almost $15,000 in back pay for 58 employees, the agency said.

Archways Richwood let 242 minors, ages 14 and 15, to work more hours than allowed, and must pay $143,566.

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