- A 15-year-old McDonald’s worker suffered hot oil burns while using a deep fryer, the DOL said.
- The restaurant in Tennessee illegally allowed the minor to remove french fries manually, per the DOL.
- The DOL assessed a $3,258 civil penalty to the franchisee that operates the restaurant.
A 15-year-old McDonald’s worker suffered hot oil burns while using a deep fryer at a restaurant in Tennessee, the Department of Labor said.
The restaurant in Morristown, north-east Tennessee, had illegally allowed the minor to remove french fries from a hot oil deep fryer manually, the DOL said. The worker was injured in June 2022.
Child-labor laws strictly regulate which tasks 14- and 15-year-old workers can perform, including a ban on all activities related to baking. While they can perform some cooking tasks, these are heavily restricted and they can only use deep fat fryers that are equipped with devices to automatically lower and raise the baskets into and out of the oil or grease.
The DOL assessed a $3,258 civil penalty for Faris Enterprises, the franchisee that operates the restaurant.
Lisa Kelly, the district director in Nashville, Tennessee for the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division District, said in a press release that there had been an “alarming increase” in child labor violations since 2018. The DOL assessed nearly $4.4 million in civil money penalties in 2022 related to violations of child labor laws.
The DOL said that the restaurant had also violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when it deducted pay from two workers to account for uniforms and cash register shortages.
While employees are allowed to charge employees for their uniforms, in the case of the Faris Enterprises staff this pushed their rate of pay below the overtime premium of one-and-a-half times their regular wage for hours worked over forty in a workweek. The employer had previously violated minimum wage and overtime laws, the DOL said.
The agency recovered $45 in back wages for the two workers and assessed $882 in civil money penalties.
Faris Enterprises did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.