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McDonald’s Franchisee Violated Child Labor Laws, Federal Investigation Finds

The Department of Labor uncovered child labor violations by the operators of 13 Pittsburgh area McDonald’s restaurants.

According to an investigation by the Department of Labor, a McDonald’s franchisee violated child labor laws by permitting more than 100 minors to work outside legal hour limits. 

Labor investigators determined that the franchise operator, Santonastasso Enterprises, was scheduling 14- and 15-year-old employees to work more than three hours per day and after 7 p.m. on school days. Other violations included allowing minors to work later than 9 p.m. on days between June 1 and Labor Day and more than eight hours on a non-school day.

"Permitting young workers to work excessive hours can jeopardize their safety, well-being and education," Labor Department official John DuMont said in a statement. "Employers who hire young workers must understand and comply with federal child labor laws or face costly consequences."

The franchisee’s failures led to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, resulting in a fine of $57,000. In response to the investigation, the franchise operators announce they have implemented new procedures to prevent scheduling problems.

"We take our role as a local employer very seriously, and we regret any scheduling issues that may have occurred at our restaurants," John and Kathleen Santonastasso said in a statement.

The DOL investigation follows a series of reports of child labor violations in the QSR segment and other industries. According to the labor department, investigators found child labor law violations in more than 4,000 cases between 2017 and 2021.

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