LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Six McDonald's locations in Louisville are in trouble for violating child labor laws.
The U.S. Department of Labor said its investigation resulted in a McDonald's franchisee paying nearly $50,000 for violating federal child labor laws. The Department of Labor telling WDRB News the investigation lasted from December 2017 to December 2019.
NPT Partners I LLC, a Louisville-based franchisee of six McDonald’s restaurants, has paid the civil penalty of $48,258 as well as $20,015 in wages to eight employees for violating minimum wage and overtime requirements after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
The announcement of the violations and fine comes a month after Manna Inc., a restaurant franchising company started by Louisville business titan Junior Bridgeman, was hit with a six-figure fine for similar violations after federal investigators found 14- and 15-year-olds working illegal hours at 99 Manna-operated Wendy’s and Fazoli’s restaurants in nine states, including 18 restaurants in the Louisville area.
There are strict guidelines governing when and how long 14- and 15-year-olds can work in Kentucky, as well as the types of jobs they can hold. WHD investigators said NPT Partners I LLC violated one child labor guideline by employing 14- and 15-year-old employees to work outside of legally approved hours. WHD said those employees worked more hours than allowed by law.
Investigators also found 66 minors worked more than three hours on a school day or more than eight hours on a non-school day. The Labor Department said the teens worked more than 18 hours per week during school weeks or more than 40 hours per week in non-school weeks. They also worked after 7 p.m. Labor Day through May 31 and after 9 p.m. June 1 through Labor Day.
WHD said the franchisee also allowed 14- and 15-year-old employees to work in hazardous occupations, which is prohibited for this age group. Investigators say the teens cooked at the restaurants, which involved using deep-fat fryers not equipped with devices that automatically lower and raise the baskets into and out of the hot oil.
And, WHD says the franchisee violated the minimum wage requirement and made an illegal deduction from an employee’s pay for a cash register shortage. Investigators say that caused the worker’s earnings to drop below the federal minimum hourly wage. The Department of Labor says the franchisee also violated overtime requirements by paying a salary to seven non-exempt employees and failing to pay them overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.
"Child labor laws exist to strike a balance between providing meaningful work experience for young people and keeping them safe on the job while not interfering with their educational opportunities," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils, in Louisville, Kentucky. "We encourage all employers – especially those who employ minors – to review their employment obligations and to contact the Wage and Hour Division for compliance assistance. Employers can avoid violations like those found in this case."
Here are the McDonald's locations that got in trouble:
Hikes Store #5190
2961 Breckinridge Lane
Poplar Store #4924
3100 Poplar Level Rd.
Broadway Store #4776
207 W. Broadway
Dorsey Store #24375
9901 Ormsby Station Rd.
Dutchman’s Store #23345
998 Breckinridge Lane
Lakeside Store #6806
2209 Taylorsville Rd.
The franchisee said in response, "The well-being and safety of our restaurant employees that serve our customers each day is among our top priorities. We take these matters very seriously and are committed to adhering to all federal, state, and local youth employment laws moving forward."
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