Operators of 13 Pittsburgh-area McDonald’s locations accused of child labor violations

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Thirteen McDonald’s locations in the Pittsburgh area are accused of violating child labor laws by allegedly employing 101 14- and 15-year-olds outside of permitted work hours, the Department of Labor announced Monday.

Santonastasso Enterprises LLC, owned and operated by John and Kathleen Santonastasso and based in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, a community about 10 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, paid a $57,332 fine after investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour Division allegedly found violations at the 13 McDonald’s locations they operate in and around Pittsburgh.

Investigators determined that the franchisee allegedly violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, which states that teens cannot work more than three hours per school day; every day after 7 pm; later than 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day, when they are allowed to work until 9 p.m.; more than 8 hours on a non-school day; or more than 18 hours per week during the school year, among other things.

Department officials also allegedly found an occupational violation at one of four Pittsburgh locations where an employee under the age of 16 allegedly operated a fryer that was not equipped with a device to automatically lower and raise the baskets.

In a statement to NBC News, John and Kathleen Santonastasso said: “We take our role as a local employer very seriously and we regret any scheduling issues that have occurred in our restaurants. Our number one priority has always been the safety and well-being of our employees and we have since introduced a range of new and improved processes and procedures to ensure that employees are properly scheduled.”

The franchisee’s Facebook page states that the family has “worked in the McDonald’s business for over 40 years.”

In a statement, McDonald’s headquarters said franchisees “make local decisions for their business,” but are expected to comply with state and federal law.

“McDonald’s and our franchisees do not take lightly the positive impact we can deliver – and therefore the great responsibility we bear – when someone works at a McDonald’s, especially not as their first job,” the statement said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Labor said officials are not disclosing the rationale for launching investigations, but pointed to information on the ministry’s website stating that many investigations are launched on the basis of confidential complaints and that the division also oversees low-wage industries that tend to have high wages. violations or employing vulnerable workers.

The spokesperson added that in addition to paying the fine, Santonastasso Enterprises LLC had to agree to full future compliance with department regulations. The spokesperson added that the department is not disclosing whether they plan to investigate other McDonald’s locations across the country.

The violations follow more than 4,000 child labor violations identified by the Department of Labor involving more than 13,000 underage workers between 2017 and 2021.

Last month, the department accused a food sanitation company, Packers Sanitation Services, of allegedly employing at least 50 children to run nighttime cleaning services at five slaughterhouses in three states in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Packers Sanitation Services has since resolved the allegations with the Department of Labor, according to a federal court document filed Tuesday morning, which said the company will review and improve its existing policies and training materials and hire an outside consultant to eliminate “quarterly child labor.” to feed. compliance training” and oversee company compliance for three years. The company will also include a new child labor provision in its contracts with customers and will inform the labor department of the number of employees it has laid off as a result of complying with child labor laws.

A company spokesperson said in a statement that PSSI has “zero tolerance” for such violations.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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