- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A Pittsburgh-area McDonald’s franchisee that employed 101 minors across 13 locations broke federal scheduling and safety law, the Labor Department announced Monday.

Santonastasso Enterprises, the franchisee for the 13 locations, has paid $57,332 to resolve the violations, most of which related to scheduling for 14- and 15-year-old employees.

According to the Labor Department, these employees were, in violation of federal law, allowed to work:

— More than 3 hours per day and after 7 p.m. on school days.

— Later than 9 p.m. on days between June 1 and Labor Day, when they may legally work until 9 p.m.

— More than 8 hours on a non-school day and more than 18 hours a week during a regular school week.

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In addition, at one location in Pittsburgh, “a minor under the age of 16 was allowed to operate a deep fryer, which was not equipped with a device to automatically lower and raise the baskets,” which is a violation of child labor occupational safety standards.

“Permitting young workers to work excessive hours can jeopardize their safety, well-being and education. Employers who hire young workers must understand and comply with federal child labor laws or face costly consequences,” Wage and Hour Division Pittsburgh District Office Director John DuMont said in the Labor Department announcement.

In a statement, McDonald’s franchise owners John and Kathleen Santonastasso said, “We take our role as a local employer very seriously and we regret any scheduling issues that may have occurred at our restaurants. Our biggest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and we have since instituted a series of new and enhanced processes and procedures to ensure employees are scheduled appropriately.”

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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