The Department of Labor has fined three McDonald’s franchises in Kentucky after it was determined that they employed more than 300 children, many of whom worked longer than the law permits.
One particular location had two 10-year-olds working without pay, until as late as 2 a.m. To make matters worse, one operated the deep fryer, a task that’s forbidden by those under the age of 16, according to the Labor Department.
Bauer Food, which owns and operates 10 Mcdonald’s locations in Louisville, Kentucky, has been fined approximately $40,000 for the violations, including employing 10-year-old children, who cleaned the store, prepared food orders, operated the register, and worked at the drive-thru window.
Karen Garnett-Civils, the wage and hour division district director, said in a news release that no 10-year-old should be working in a kitchen environment near deep fryers, ovens, and hot grills.
The crackdown occurred after the government began investigating employment practices in fast-food restaurants in the southeast, with an eye on younger- teenage- workers. According to Garnett-Civils, there’s been an increase in federal child labor violations, with many establishments allowing underaged minors to handle potentially dangerous work or equipment; many also employ them for hours longer than the law permits.
The Department of Labor also fined Archways Richwood, who operates 27 franchise locations, $143,500, for allowing 14- to 15-year-old minors to work over the legal limits. The Louisville-based Bell Restaurant Group I was also fined over $29,000 for allowing 14- and 15-year-old children to work long hours, two of whom actually worked during school hours.
According to the news release, 688 minors were employed in hazardous jobs illegally, a new high since 2011. A 15-year-old also suffered hot oil burns while operating a deep fryer in one Morristown location in Tennessee.
The government crackdown comes as several states are going back on child-labor laws. Just recently, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Arkansas Gov., enacted legislation to eliminate regulations that require 14- and 15-year-old minors to obtain work permits before being employed.