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McDonald’s Franchises Employing 10-Year Olds

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) found more than 300 children, including two who were just ten years old, working at McDonald's locations across four states.

Three franchisees — Bauer Food LLC, Archways Richwood LLC, and Bell Restaurant Group 1LLC — operate 62 McDonald's locations across Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio. The DOL imposed penalties against these owners in the amount of $212,754 for violating child labor laws. The most egregious claims against these franchises is the allegation that Bauer Food had two ten-year-olds working in a Louisville store without pay. These two children worked until 2:00 a.m. preparing and distributing orders, cleaning the restaurant, working the drive-thru window, working the register, and handling the deep-fryer. Federal law does not permit employees under the age of 16 to operate deep-fryers. Bauer Food claims the two children were visiting the night manager, who was their parent. It says it did not approve the children working there.  Generally, the other violations found by the DOL pertain to minors working more than their legally permitted hours.

McDonald's corporation issued a statement regarding the child labor violations: "These reports are unacceptable, deeply troubling and run afoul of the high expectation we have for the entire McDonald's brand." A DOL director noted the agency is seeing an increase in federal child labor law violations across the country, including "allowing minors to operate equipment or handle types of work that endangers them or employs them for more hours or later in the day."