Child labor violations found at New England restaurants, including Dunkin’ and McDonald’s

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MANCHESTER, N.Y. — The U.S. Department of Labor is highlighting child labor law violations at New England restaurants, including McDonald’s and Dunkin’ locations.

The Manchester office of the department’s Wage and Hour Division said franchise locations for both chains allowed some 14- and 15-year-old employees to work too many hours and operate ovens and fryers that left several young workers with burns.

Nine McDonald’s locations in New Hampshire and Vermont owned by Coughlin Inc. and 12 Dunkin’ stores operated by Vermont Donut Enterprises and related LLCs were found in violation. Between the two companies, eight minors suffered burns while cooking, and 186 young employees exceeded federal work-hour limits. The McDonald’s franchise owner was fined $109,125 for the violations, and Dunkin’ Companies paid $49,756. Both signed “enhanced” compliance agreements that aim to prevent future child labor violations.

Tuscan Sea Grill in Newburyport, Mass., Toscana Chop House in Portsmouth; and Tuscan Kitchen and Tuscan Market in Salem, New Hampshire were also fined $15,737 for overworking young employees and hiring a 13-year-old.

Click here for more information on violations.

The Department of Labor says that while businesses may be looking to hire younger workers amid a tight labor market, it’s important to make sure they’re protected.

“Ensuring the safety of our youngest workers and bringing employers into compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor restrictions are high priorities for the Wage and Hour Division,” District Wage and Hour Director Steven McKinney said in a statement . “We encourage employers to be proactive and use best practice measures to ensure they protect young workers.”

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