[Valerie Everett, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

McDonald’s Franchise Slapped With Labor Violations

A McDonald’s franchise owner appears to have a lot of Egg McMuffin on his face after violating child labor laws. Bauer Food, an operator based in Louisville, Kentucky, was cited for violating federal laws by the Department of Labor, according to a recent statement. 

CBS News reports, “Officials said the children were not paid, yet sometimes worked as late as 2 a.m. and they “prepared and distributed food orders, cleaned the store, worked at the drive-thru window and operated a register.” Investigators learned that “one of the two children was allowed to operate a deep fryer, a prohibited task for workers under 16 years old.”

Bauer Food franchise owner Sean Bauer told CBS News that the children were visiting their parent, who works as a night manager. He said the kids were not approved to be in that part of restaurant by franchisee organization management and that any work the children did was at the direction of, and in the presence of, the parent. 

Bauer added that the company has worked to make sure the policy regarding children visiting parents and guardians at work is clear to all employees.” 

This is not the first time that the Golden Arches have been accused of violating federal child labor laws. A 15-year-old worker suffered oil burns after using a deep fryer at a restaurant in Tennessee, Business Insider wrote.

“The restaurant in Morristown, north-east Tennessee, had illegally allowed the minor to remove french fries from a hot oil deep fryer manually, the DOL said. The worker was injured in June 2022.

Child-labor laws strictly regulate which tasks 14- and 15-year-old workers can perform, including a ban on all activities related to baking. While they can perform some cooking tasks, these are heavily restricted and they can only use deep fat fryers that are equipped with devices to automatically lower and raise the baskets into and out of the oil or grease.

The DOL assessed a $3,258 civil penalty for Faris Enterprises, the franchisee that operates the restaurant.”

A similar incident happened in Pittsburgh last December, as well. 

NPR reported at the time that “a federal investigation found child labor violations involving more than a hundred teenagers at McDonald’s locations in the Pittsburgh area, the U.S. Department of Labor said on Monday.

The fast food franchisee, Santonastasso Enterprises, illegally scheduled 14 and 15-year-old employees to work too many hours or work late shifts at 13 of its restaurants, according to officials.

‘Permitting young workers to work excessive hours can jeopardize their safety, well-being and education,’ John DuMont, district director of the agency’s wage and hour division in Pittsburgh, explained in a statement.

‘Employers who hire young workers must understand and comply with federal child labor laws or face costly consequences.'”

McDonald’s has been looking at ways to decrease its reliance on human labor. Last year the fast food chain opened its first fully-automated restaurant. 

“In 2021 McDonald’s sold its McD Tech Labs to IBM “in order to ‘further accelerate’ work on its automated voice ordering systems. The deal will help apply the technology to a wider variety of countries, languages and menus, McDonald’s said, while bolstering IBM’s Watson-powered customer service offerings,” Jolt of Joyful reported.

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