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Darmody Enterprises L.T.D., the owner and operator of the nearly a dozen restaurants in question, allegedly defied labor laws in the manner through which it allowed 14- and 15-year-old employees to work at the locations.
According to a press release by Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, Darmody allowed its employees, ages 14 and 15, to work shifts that lasted longer than three hours, or extended beyond 7 p.m. on school days. On non-school days, the franchisee allegedly allowed its workers who fit that age range to stay on the clock for more than eight hours. The alleged violations were made at locations in Meridian, Boise and Nampa.
Rick Darmody, the owner and operator of the accused McDonald’s franchise locations, said the organization "is committed to providing a safe, compliant and enriching workplace for our employees."
"To ensure that we are in full compliance with all laws and regulations, we are implementing several protocols including a mandated, bi-annual manager and crew training focused on child labor laws," Darmody wrote in an emailed statement. "Additionally, we’ve posted visible signage within our restaurants noting which equipment is off-limits to those under 16 years of age and are enforcing of any shift changes, including duration and frequency, to be approved by management. We continue to evolve and enhance our training and practices to safeguard our employees, who remain our priority.”
The Labor Department also made several other allegations against Darmody, including that the franchisee allowed its underage employees to work past 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day.
“The employer also allowed 14- and 15-year-old workers to operate manual fryer baskets, also a violation … [and] violated FLSA recordkeeping requirements when it failed to maintain accurate proof of age of one minor employee,” the release states.
Darmody has already paid the $50,000 penalty, the press release states.
“Child labor laws exist to strike a balance between providing a meaningful work experience for young people, and keeping them safe on the job so that the work does not jeopardize their health and well-being or educational opportunities,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Silva in a prepared statement. "Employers should evaluate their employment practices to ensure that they comply, and avoid violations like those found in this case."