McDonald’s franchise owner let pair of 10-year-olds work unpaid until 2am

A total of 305 children were employed to work longer than the legally permitted hours across three franchises in Kentucky (Picture: Getty Images)

A McDonald’s franchise owner in Kentucky employed two 10-year-olds and let them work unpaid shifts until 2am, an investigation has found.

The US Department of Labor said Bauer Food LLC violated federal child labour laws by employing 24 children under the age of 16 to work more hours than legally permitted.

The pair of 10-year-olds ‘prepared and distributed food orders, cleaned the store, worked at the drive-thru window and operated a register’, a news release said.

Louisville-based Bauer Food, which operates 10 McDonald’s restaurants, also allowed one of the kids to operate a deep-fat fryer, a task which is prohibited for workers aged under 16.

Karen Garnett-Civils, wage and hour division district director for Louisville, said: ‘Too often, employers fail to follow the child labor laws that protect young workers.

‘Under no circumstances should there ever be a 10-year-old child working in a fast-food kitchen around hot grills, ovens and deep fryers.’

The Department of Labor assessed nearly $40,000 (£31,700) in penalties for the franchisee.

Owner Sean Bauer told CBS News the two 10-year-olds were visiting their parent, who works as a night manager, and any work they did was at the direction of the parent.

Bauer Food was not the only McDonald’s owner in the state to be penalised for violating laws over child labour.

Archways Richwood LLC let 242 children aged 14 and 15 work beyond the allowable hours across their 27 fast food locations.

Meanwhile, Bell Restaurant Group I LLC employed 39 workers also aged 14 and 15 for more hours than were legal, with two of them allowed to work during school hours.

In their news release, the Department of Labor highlighted the case of a 15-year-old employee at a Tennessee McDonald’s restaurant who suffered hot oil burns while operating a deep-fat fryer in June 2022.

Last year, two children were filmed working at a drive-thru in a video shown on Louisville news channel WHAS11, though it is unknown if the incident was related to the ones referenced by the US Government.

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Tiffanie Boyd, senior vice president and chief people officer at McDonald’s USA, told CBS: ‘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.’

She added: ‘We are committed to ensuring our franchisees have the resources they need to foster safe workplaces for all employees and maintain compliance with all labor laws.’

Earlier today, it was reported that McDonald’s had been fined £475,000 after a diner at a London restaurant found a mouse dropping in her burger wrapper.

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