McDonald’s worked 10-year-olds on unpaid shifts

A new report from the United States Department of Labor has uncovered that a McDonald’s restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky permitted two ten-year-old children to work without pay for shifts that extended into the late night.

The report showed that the two children were tasked with various jobs that are typically found in fast-food restaurants, including serving customers, operating the drive-thru window and cleaning. The report also revealed that one of the children was given the responsibility of using a deep fryer, which is considered to be a dangerous piece of machinery and is forbidden to those under sixteen.

Over the course of last August, the two minors worked a total of ten shifts, which ranged from two to four hours in length, sometimes even staying as late as two in the morning.
Bauer Foods LLC, the franchisee of the McDonald’s in question, admitted to CNN that the two children had been working without their consent. The two children were the offspring of a night manager, and they had visited the store while their parent was working and performed tasks for the restaurant. Consequently, Bauer Foods was fined $39,711 for the alleged violations of the child labor law.

Karen Garnett-Civils, the USDL wage and hour division district director in Louisville, expressed her views on the matter, stating, “Too often, employers fail to follow the child labor laws that protect young workers. Under no circumstances should there ever be a ten-year-old child working in a fast-food kitchen around hot grills, ovens, and deep fryers.”

Not only was the situation of the two ten-year-olds an example of child labor law violations, but it is also part of a greater trend across the region. In total, sixty fast-food restaurants in Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio have been fined for illegal child labor practices. Three franchisees, Bauer Foods, Archways Richwood, and Bell Restaurant Group, have been collectively fined $212,754 for labor law infractions such as scheduling teens to work early shifts in the morning or late at night, in addition to failing to pay overtime wages, and even assigning teens to work during the school day.

McDonald’s Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer Tiffanie Boyd commented on the matter, saying, “These reports are unacceptable, deeply troubling and run afoul of the high expectations we have for the entire McDonald’s brand. It is not lost on us the significant responsibility we carry to ensure a positive and safe experience for everyone under the Arches.” Boyd also added that as a mother whose teenage son also worked at a McDonald’s, she feels the responsibility to make sure all restaurants have a safe working environment and follow all labor laws.