...By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
Children, including two 10-year-olds, were discovered working at McDonald’s restaurants across Kentucky and other states, in violation of federal labor laws.
The Department of Labor disclosed that more than 300 children were being employed as late as 2 a.m., with two 10-year-olds found working at one of the fast-food chain’s outlets in Louisville, owned by Bauer Food LLC, which is located in the city.
The children were reported to have prepared and delivered food orders, cleaned the outlet, worked at the drive-thru window and operated the cash register.
One of them was also allowed to operate a deep fryer, a task prohibited for workers under 16 under federal law.
According to the Labor Department, most of the restaurants, 45 of the 62 examined, were in Kentucky.
The two 10-year-olds were among at least 305 children found to have been employed in violation of federal labor laws across 62 McDonald’s locations in Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio, operated under three franchisees, as per the department.
Bauer Food LLC said the two 10-year-olds were children of a night manager who were visiting their parent at work and were not approved by franchisee organization management to be in that part of the restaurant.
McDonald’s USA’s senior vice president and chief people officer, Tiffanie Boyd, expressed concern over the issue and stated that these reports are unacceptable and deeply troubling.
She added that McDonald’s carries significant responsibility to ensure a positive and safe experience for everyone, and every restaurant should foster a culture of safety.
The franchisee said it had taken steps to ensure that policies regarding children visiting a parent or guardian at work were clear to all employees.
The Labor Department has indicated that employers face stiff financial penalties if they are found to have violated worker laws.
Archways Richwood LLC, based in Walton, was found to have permitted 242 children between the ages of 14 and 15 to work beyond allowable hours, and was expected to be fined an estimated $143,566 (around £114,000) for violations.
Bell Restaurant Group I LLC, based in Louisville, allowed 39 children between the ages of 14 and 15 to work outside allowable hours, the department said, and was expected to face an estimated $29,267 (around £23,000) in fines.
Similarly, Bauer Food LLC is said to have employed 24 children under the age of 16 to work more than the legally permitted hours, according to the department, and was expected to be fined an estimated $39,711 (around £32,000).
The incident raises concerns about child labor practices and exploitation.
It is alarming to see children working late hours and performing tasks that are beyond their legal age limit.
The Labor Department’s action to enforce labor laws and penalize violators serves as a warning to all businesses that employing minors in violation of labor laws will not be tolerated.
It is the responsibility of all employers to comply with labor laws and ensure the safety and well-being of their employees, including children.
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