- McDonald’s locations in Pennsylvania employed more than 150 teenagers during hours prohibited by federal law.
- Children under the age of 16 operate deep fryers, according to the US Department of Labor.
- The owners of the locations paid more than $92,000 in fines.
Children under the age of 16 are 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 worked hours when they should have been at home focusing on their schoolwork, investigators said. In 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 youth workers employed in violation of federal child labor laws,” John DuMont, of the department’s Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement. By 2022, more than 3,800 children were found to be working in violation of federal law; in 2012, that number was just over 1,600.
In particular, McDonald’s locations, located in Erie and Warren, work with children more than 18 hours a week, in some cases, as well as before 7 a.m. and after 7 pm during the school year. On days they are not in school, some are 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.
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.
“Every employer hiring young workers should know when they can and cannot work, the types of work they can do and what tasks they can safely be assigned ,” said DuMont. “The bottom line is that there is no justification for jeopardizing the safety of young workers or hindering their educational opportunities.”
A McDonald’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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