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

13 McDonald’s locations in the Pittsburgh area are accused of violating child labor laws by employing 101 14- and 15-year-old children outside of permitted hours, the Department of Labor said Monday.

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

Investigators alleged that the franchisee violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, which stipulates that teenagers cannot work more than three hours in a school day; any day after 7 pm; Between 1 June and Labor Day, when they are allowed to work after 21:00 until 21:00; more than 8 hours on a non-school day; or more than 18 hours per week during the school year, among other arrangements.

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

In a statement to NBC News, John and Kathleen Santonastasso said: “We take our role as a local employer very seriously and are sorry for any schedule issues that may have occurred at our restaurants. Our top priority has always been the safety and well-being of our employees and since then we ensure that employees are properly programmed. We have created a set of new and improved processes and procedures to ensure

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

McDonald’s corporate office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for the Department of Labor said officials did not explain why the investigations were launched, but pointed to information on the ministry’s website that said many investigations were initiated based on confidential complaints, and that the department also monitors low-wage industries, which are typically high. rates of breaches or employing vulnerable workers.

The spokesperson added that in addition to paying the fine, Santonastasso Enterprises LLC must agree to fully comply with departmental regulations in the future. The spokesperson added that the department has not disclosed whether they plan to explore other McDonald’s locations nationwide.

The violations follow more than 4,000 child labor violations, which the Department of Labor has determined to have affected more than 13,000 underage workers from 2017 to 2021.

Last month, the department accused Packers Sanitation Services (PSSI), a food sanitation company, of employing at least 31 children on nightly cleaning shifts at three slaughterhouses in Nebraska and Minnesota, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

This investigation led U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh to request the Federal District Court of Nebraska to issue a temporary restraining order and nationwide injunction to stop the company from employing minors; meanwhile, the Department of Labor continues its investigation, which a court partially accepted. PSSI will “immediately stop and avoid the use of repressive child labor” and will comply with the Department of Labor investigation.

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

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