A couple that operates 13 McDonald’s locations in Pennsylvania has been accused by the feds of more than 100 child labor violations at its burger joints.
The Department of Labor is accusing franchise owners John and Kathleen Santonastasso of working 14- and 15-year-old employees outside of legal hours, and allowing them to handle equipment they are not old enough to legally operate.
Regulators also found that the franchise owners regularly worked minors into the evening on school days, and more than eight hours a day on non-school days. Both practices are illegal.
“Permitting young workers to work excessive hours can jeopardize their safety, well-being and education,” said John DuMont, the Labor Department Wage Director. “Employers who hire young workers must understand and comply with federal child labor laws or face costly consequences.”
One inspector found a case of a minor illegality operating a deep fryer.
The Santonastassos’ company has paid a civil penalty of $57,332.
DuMont warned parents to be especially vigilant about their child’s working hours this time of year, when employers are scrambling for extra holiday help.
“Right now, near the holiday season is where we’re more apt to see more of these violations with employers trying to bring on minors to fill in employment gaps,” he said.
The Santonastassos released a statement chalking up the violations to “scheduling issues,” adding, “our biggest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and we have since instituted a series of new and enhanced processes and procedures to ensure employees are scheduled appropriately.”
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