The Real Reason 9 Burger King Restaurants Broke The Law In South Carolina

It's no surprise that some companies aren't too afraid to bend the rules a little bit. Maybe it's skirting some safety regulations to save some money or maybe it's paying some employees under the table to keep them off the record. It's usually nothing too major, considering the last thing they want to do is draw attention to themselves, but there have been times when companies have been caught doing more than just trying to skirt their taxes. A recent example is the child labor law violations at nine South Carolina Burger King restaurants.

According to the United States Department of Labor, It was discovered that nine Burger King restaurants around Columbia, South Carolina allowed employees between the ages of 14 and 15 to work during school hours, or scheduled more hours on a school day than allowed. Employees in that age range can only work three hours on school days and eight hours on non-school days, although these Burger King locations were having them work far longer. While it is assumed the employees were being paid for their work, the idea that these employees were working these long hours during the school year does raise some concern. According to Business Insider, Burger King has not made any official statements regarding the matter.

Strangely, fast food and child labor laws have been called into question before.

Other fast food chains have broken labor laws

Teenage employees working in a fast food restaurant like Burger King isn't unexpected. But, in some cases, it seems like those companies are a bit too lax on child labor laws, allowing their younger employees to do work that they are not meant to do.

A McDonald's franchisee in Santa Ana, California came under fire in February 2022 for allowing underage employees to load and operate indoor trash compactors (via the United States Department of Labor), something that can only be done by trained employees 18 and older. Another McDonald's franchisee in Idaho was fined an incredible $50,000 for also allowing younger employees to work for long hours on school days (via Fox Business). Even Chipotle was caught in a similar scandal, with six restaurants in Massachusetts having to pay a total of $1.4 million for similar violations, per The New York Times

It's because of similar incidents such as these that labor legislation is starting to become increasingly focused on the fast food industry and its practices. According to a 2020 article from QSR Magazine, there have been discussions about how long a quick service restaurant employee's shift can be. Whether or not there will be sweeping changes to the employment of minors in the industry has yet to be seen.