Investigators Find 10-Year-Olds Working, Unpaid, at McDonald's

Labor Department fines three franchisees
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2023 6:20 PM CDT
10-Year-Olds Found Working at McDonald's
A McDonald's restaurant in Havertown, Pennsylvania, in 2022.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Federal investigators say they found three McDonald's franchisees to be violating child labor laws, infractions that included working two 10-year-olds without pay until 2am. The franchisees, who operate a total of 62 locations in Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio, were employing 305 children working hours beyond the legal limits and doing job tasks prohibited by law, the Guardian reports. "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," a Labor Department official said in a news release. The three franchisees were hit with civil penalties totaling $212,754.

The official said the investigation was launched because "we are seeing an increase in federal child labor violations," per the Washington Post. A 15-year-old was burned by hot oil last year while operating a McDonald’s in Morristown, Tennessee, the Labor Department said. Several states—including Ohio, per Vox, and Iowa—are moving to reduce labor protections for children. Experts say the rising number of violations of child labor laws is attributable to the tight labor market and an increase in the number of children arriving in the US from Latin America without their parents, per the Post. (More child labor laws stories.)

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