McDonald's locations in Pennsylvania broke child labor laws, with kids under 16 operating deep fryers, Labor Department says
- McDonald's locations in Pennsylvania employed more than 150 teenagers at hours prohibited by federal law.
- Children under the age of 16 were operating deep fryers, according to the US Department of Labor.
Children under the age of 16 were operating deep fryers and working hours prohibited by federal law at more than a half-dozen McDonald's locations in Pennsylvania, the US Department of Labor said Wednesday.
At seven restaurants across the state, 154 minors were employed at times they should have been at home focusing on their schoolwork, investigators said. At five of the locations, more than 23 minors, some as young as 14, were found to be working illegally.
"Since 2018, we have seen an alarming increase in the number of young workers employed in violation of federal child labor laws," John DuMont, of the department's Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement. In 2022, more than 3,800 children were found to be employed in violation of federal law; in 2012, that number was just over 1,600.
In particular, the McDonald's locations, located in Erie and Warren, employed children more than 18 hours a week, in some instances, as well as before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. during the school year. On days they were not in school, some were asked to work more than eight hours per day and, during the summer, after 9 p.m., which is prohibited by federal law. Nine children were also found to be operating deep fryers before the legally required minimum age of 16.
"Every employer who hires young workers must know when they can and cannot work, the types of jobs they can do and what tasks they can be safely assigned," DuMont said. "The bottom line is that there is no excuse for jeopardizing young workers' safety or hindering their educational opportunities."
The owner of the franchises, Thomas DuCharme Jr., paid $92,107 in civil penalties as a result of a federal investigation, according to the department.
In a statement provided to Insider, DuCharme said he is "deeply committed to the safety and well-being of all my employees" and has learned an important lesson. "I have since adopted several enhanced processes to address scheduling issues and to ensure my organization is meeting the high standards to which we hold ourselves."
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