One Massachusetts Dunkin' Franchisee Racked Up 1,200 Child Labor Law Violations

Just within the span of 2022, numerous fast food establishments have been under fire for child labor violations. Per Food Manufacturing, Wendy's restaurants at five Pennsylvania locations allowed 14- and 15-year-olds to operate dangerous equipment and work more than 18 hours per week, leading to $15,449 in penalties. Vermont and New Hampshire McDonald's locations did something similar, also assigning young teenagers illegal hours, as well as permitting the operation of inappropriate machines, resulting in two burn injuries (per the U.S. Department of Labor).

Recently, multiple Dunkin' locations in Massachusetts racked up fines due to similar mistakes. According to the Massachusetts Government website, those under 16 are prohibited to bake, operate power-driven slicers and mixers, or cook with anything other than an electric or gas grill. They are also not allowed to work after 8 p.m. without supervision, work more than three hours on a school day, or work more than 18 hours per week. Because some of these rules were unfollowed, Dunkin' landed itself in hot water following an investigation (per CBS News).

Minors were working excessive hours

Attorney General Maura Healey announced Monday that Dunkin' locations in Central Massachusetts and Lowell have accumulated more than 1,200 child labor law violations since early last year (per CBS News). The company that owns these locations, The Westford Group Inc., is now facing fines of $145,000 for working minors too late, too early, and for excessive hours. Minors were also unsupervised past 8 p.m., and some stores couldn't provide permits for the workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor called out the company earlier this year for requiring too many hours for as many as 44 minor workers. Six workers also received burns while baking and operating high-speed ovens, both of which they're not permitted to do by law. In that case, the franchise owners, Vermont Donut Enterprises LLC, had to pay $49,756 in penalties. "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," wage and hour district director Steven McKinney said at the time, encouraging employers to review their local laws regarding child labor.