More than 300 minors have been found working at McDonald’s across four states including two 10-year-olds at a franchise in Kentucky. The Labor Department’s investigation uncovered that three franchisees- Bauer Food LLC, Archways Richwood LLC and Bell Restaurant Group I LLC- had employed 305 children. The companies reportedly did this in order to make the children work more hours than legally permitted and perform tasks that the federal law prohibits. They were found working in over 62 locations in Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Ohio.
What’s worse is the two 10-year-olds would work as late as 2am, and they wouldn’t get paid. One of the two was also allowed to work the deep fryer which is prohibited under the age of 16. They would also allow the children to work during hours when they should have been at school. For reference, Kentucky’s legal working age is 14 and 15 and they must have the school’s permission to be able to work. Children under the age of 16 may not work during school hours and can only work until 9 p.m. at the latest.
The franchisees were fined more than $212,000 in total. “It is not lost on us the significant responsibility we carry to ensure a positive and safe experience for everyone under the Arches,” Tiffany Boyd, senior VP and Chief People Officer of McDonald’s USA said. “I know how important it is that every restaurant fosters a culture of safety. As a mother whose teenage son proudly worked at our local McDonald’s, I feel this on a very personal level.”
Bauer Food did not admit to having the children working there and said instead that they were the children of a night manager who were visiting their parent at work. They said that the work was done at the parents discretion which is still not a good reason to have had them behind the counter.