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10-year-olds worked unpaid shifts at Kentucky McDonald’s, sometimes until 2 a.m.: report

A new report from the US Department of Labor suggests that a Kentucky McDonald’s allowed two 10-year-old children to work unpaid shifts that sometimes went into the wee hours of the morning.

The report released Tuesday indicates the children worked at a McDonald’s located in Louisville and owned by franchisee Bauer Foods LLC. The children performed all kinds of tasks typical of the fast food industry, such as serving meals, operating the car window and cleaning. One of the two children even allegedly used the fryer, a piece of machinery considered “dangerous equipment” and therefore prohibited for those under 16.

Since last August, the children have reportedly worked a total of 10 shifts lasting between two and four hours, sometimes staying in the shop until 2am. They were not paid for their work, according to the USDL report.

Bauer Foods admitted to CNN that the two children had been working at the store without authorization. They are the children of a night boss and were visiting their parents when they were doing chores for the restaurant. Bauer Foods has been fined $39,711 for alleged child labor law violations.

“Too often, employers fail to comply with child labor laws that protect young workers,” said Karen Garnett-Civils, district director of the USDL’s Wage and Hour Division in Louisville. “There is no way a 10-year-old should be working in a fast food kitchen around hot grills, ovens and fryers.”

Although perhaps the most egregious, the two 10-year-olds are not the only examples of child labor law violations allegedly committed by McDonald’s franchises in the region. In fact, a total of 60 stores located in Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio have also been fined for illegal child labor practices. Bauer Foods and two other franchisees, Archways Richwood and Bell Restaurant Group, own some of the stores. The three franchisees have been fined a total of $212,754 for labor law violations, including assigning teens to work early in the morning or at night, failing to pay overtime and even scheduling teens to work during the school day.

“These reports are unacceptable, deeply troubling and violate the high expectations we have for the entire McDonald’s brand,” McDonald’s senior vice president and chief people officer Tiffanie Boyd said in a statement. “We do not lose sight of the important responsibility we have to ensure a positive and safe experience for everyone under the Arches.

“I know how important it is for every restaurant to foster a culture of safety,” the statement continued. “As a mother whose teenage son proudly worked at our local McDonald’s, I feel this on a very personal level. 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.”

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