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2 Louisville McDonald’s franchisees fined for child labor law violations

The Department of Labor found more than 300 children at McDonald's restaurants worked unlawful hours.
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The Department of Labor found more than 300 children at McDonald's restaurants worked unlawful hours.

U.S. Department of Labor investigators found three Kentucky restaurant owners had a total of 305 young employees work unlawful hours.

The department said in a press release the franchisees — Bauer Food LLC and Bell Restaurant Group I LLC in Louisville, and Archways Richwood LLC in Walton — violated federal restrictions meant to prevent children from working long hours.

Those restrictions include prohibiting employees under the age of 16 from working more than three hours on school days and more than 18 hours on school weeks. They also limit kids from working before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m., or after 9 p.m. from June to early September.

A McDonald’s spokesperson provided a statement from Tiffanie Boyd, the Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer for McDonald’s USA:

“These reports are unacceptable, deeply troubling and run afoul of the high expectations we have for the entire McDonald’s brand,” Boyd said. “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.”

A person representing Bell Restaurant Group I said they could not discuss any information beyond the press release.

Bauer Food and Archways Richwood did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Those two and Brdancat Management Inc. —, which is Bell’s parent company —, operate in four states combined: Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Maryland. In total, they run more than two dozen McDonald’s restaurants in the Louisville area.

Investigators from the labor department’s Wage and Hour division also discovered two 10-year-olds were unlawfully working for Bauer Food at a Louisville area restaurant. Federal law does not allow children under the age of 14 to work in non-agricultural roles.

The labor department said one of the 10-year-olds used a deep fryer at work, despite federal law prohibiting children under 16 from this dangerous task.

Sean Bauer, who owns Bauer Food, told CBS News the franchisee’s management had not allowed the 10-year-olds to work at the restaurant. He said they were supervised by their parent, who is a manager at the location.

The Department of Labor fined the franchises more than $200,000 combined for the violations. It did not say when the violations occurred.

Juan Coria is the Southeast regional administrator for the department’s Wage and Hour Division. He was not directly involved in the investigation, but said the federal laws set crucial standards.

“Young workers having work experience has a lot of benefits. But we just want to make sure that it’s done in a safe and legal manner,” he said.

Coria added that the Wage and Hour Division has an outreach campaign to inform young people, parents and employers about the rules surrounding child work. It usually focuses its campaign from April to June.

The labor department also collected backpay and liquidated damages from Bell Restaurant Group I, which investigators said filed to pay workers overtime wages.

Support for this story was provided in part by theJewish Heritage Fund.

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Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.