US fines McDonald’s for having more than 300 minors working illegally, including two ten-year-olds

Archive – McDonalds worker – Europa Press/Contacto/Martha Asencio Rhine

The U.S. Department of Labor has fined three McDonald’s fast food chain franchises after certifying that they had 305 minors working illegally, including two ten-year-olds.

The fine, amounting to $212,544 (191,829 euros), has been imposed on three franchises operating 62 locations in the states of Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio.

Specifically, the two ten-year-old boys worked until the wee hours of the morning without receiving any financial compensation and operated dangerous machinery, such as deep fryers, which is prohibited by U.S. labor law for children under 16 years of age.

The rest of the minors, many of them between 14 and 15 years old, worked more hours than allowed for their age, a maximum of three when it is a school day, and their hours began earlier and ended later than allowed for minors. Some even worked during their school hours.

The district director of the Wage and Hour Division in Louisville in Kentucky, Karen Garnett Civils, has lamented that »too often, employers break child labor laws that protect young workers.»

»Under no circumstances should there be a ten-year-old working in a fast food kitchen around hot grills, ovens and fryers. We are seeing an increase in violations of federal child labor laws,» she charged.

For his part, one of the supervisors at one of the chains said that the two 10-year-olds had come to the location to visit their father, a night supervisor, he said in a statement.

She also wanted to clarify that »any type of ‘work’ was done under the supervision and with the presence of their father», adding that they did not have any authorization from their superiors.