A 15-year-old who works at a McDonald’s location in Morristown, Tennessee, suffered a hot oil burn while using a deep fryer, according to the US Department of Labor. The incident occurred in June 2022, according to a department spokesperson.
Wage and hour investigators learned that the McDonald’s website allowed the teen to cook fries using a deep fryer and was burned while taking out the fries. According to a press release. Such work is illegal, as it is considered dangerous for young workers.
Although 14-15 year olds can be employed in food preparation in a limited capacity, According to the provisions of the sectionthey are not allowed to use a deep fryer without an automatic basket – or to bake.
Faris Enterprises of TN LLC, the operator of the site in question, was charged a civil fine of $3,258 for the child labor violation.
“We take our role as a local employer very seriously and regret any errors that may have led to these citations,” Faris told CBS News in a statement. “The safety and well-being of our employees has been and always will be a top priority for our organization.”
The same operator was fined $882 for deducting two workers’ pay for overtime work weeks to account for uniform and cash register shortages, violations Fair Labor Standards Act. Fares had committed similar abuses in the past, according to the press release.
The Labor Department issued a whopping $4,386,205 in penalties for 2022—the most in nine years, According to agency data.
“Since 2018, we have seen an alarming increase in federal child labor violations,” Lisa Kelly, director of the Department of Wage and Hours, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, our investigators have found too many employers to be unaware of the law or choose to ignore it.”
In a tight labor market, employers sometimes turn to minors for jobs because they tend to be more flexible and cheaper, says Reed Mackey, director of child labor advocacy for the National Consumers League and coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition, which works to end abuse. Child labor Tell NPR.
Last month, it was a food safety and sanitation company He was fined $1.5 million by the US Department of Labor for employing more than 100 children—some as young as 13—in hazardous jobs including Cleaning “sharp saws” with “caustic chemicals”. In December 2022, A.J Federal investigations found child labor violations at more than a dozen McDonald’s locations in and around Pittsburgh when franchisee Santonastasso Enterprises allowed 14- and 15-year-olds to work outside of legal hours.
Even as labor regulators crack down on child labor abuses, lawmakers in a number of states want to relax laws to allow more minors to work, in response to a tightening labor market. new law in arkansas, It passed earlier this monthFacilitate the employment of children under the age of 16.
In Minnesota, a invoice 16- and 17-year-olds will be allowed to find work in the construction industry, as Iowa lawmakers consider legislation It would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work in freezers and meat coolers, which is currently prohibited.