A McDonald's franchisee in the Pittsburgh area was ordered to pay a hefty fine for child labor violations at more than a dozen locations, the Department of Labor DOL said Monday.
The DOL found that Santonastasso Enterprises LLC was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act with respect to hours minors are allowed to work.
A worker younger than 16 was not allowed to operate a deep fryer, which was not equipped with a device to automatically lower and raise the baskets, according to the DOL.
The department identified John and Kathleen Santonastasso as the owners of the limited liability company that operates McDonald s locations it investigated and penalized with the fine.
On days when school was in session, Santonastasso Enterprises LLC allegedly let 14 and 15 year-olds clock more than three hours and work beyond the law's 7 p.m. cut-off time, according to the DOL. Some of its teen employees were reported to have been on shift over eight hours on non-school days. The franchisee is accused of permitting minors to work beyond the 18 hours that are allowed in school weeks or past 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.
The department said 13 Santonastasso Enterprises-owned McDonald s locations in Pittsburgh and nearby cities were part of the investigation. 101 minors working at the restaurants in question were involved in alleged violations.
The Santonastassos said in a statement to FOX Business that they take seriously our role as a local employer and regret any scheduling issues that may have occurred at our restaurants. Our biggest priority is the safety and well-being of our employees, and we have instituted a series of new and enhanced processes and procedures to make sure employees are scheduled as soon as possible. McDonald s USA told FOX Business it expects all franchisees to uphold our values in everything they do. The fast-food chain said that franchisees must comply with all state and federal laws, as they make local decisions for their businesses, including labor and employment practices. McDonald s and their franchisees do not take lightly the positive impact we can deliver and the profound responsibility we carry when someone works at a McDonald s, particularly as their first job. According to the most recent annual report, McDonald's had just over 40,000 restaurants worldwide at the end of 2021, including over 13,400 in the U.S.
Nearly 37,300 93% of its approximately 40,000 restaurants were franchised in 2021, according to the company. The percentage was slightly higher in the U.S. at 95%.