McDonald’s Shareholders Demand Human Rights Investigation After Child Labor Called Out By Feds, Report Says


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Shareholder groups are demanding an independent investigation into human rights practices at McDonald’s, according to the Washington Post, after a series of child labor findings that included a 15-year-old getting grease burns from a deep fryer and a 10-year-old working until 2 a.m.

Key Facts

More than 30 signatories that own shares—including the Illinois state treasurer and the New York City comptroller—sent a letter to the McDonald’s board Friday calling out the Labor Department’s findings of child labor violations, the Post first reported.

A rash of labor violations have hit McDonald’s franchises across the country since February of 2022—300 children were found to have worked at McDonald’s restaurants illegally in Kentucky, children under the age of 16 used deep fryers without automatic fry baskets in Pennsylvania, and 101 minors were founds working at 13 McDonald’s locations in Pittsburgh and a California franchisee agreed to pay $25,000 in penalties for giving minors “hazardous work,” among other violations.

The coalition is also asking McDonald’s to adopt a zero-tolerance policy in its global brand standards for child labor violations in its franchises—a standard that has been adopted at the highest levels but does not apply to franchises, which represent 95% of locations in the United States, per the Post.

Federal labor law prohibits children under 14 from working, and also includes other protections for minors like not working before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on school days, for more than 3 hours per school day or more than 8 hours on a weekend day.

Tiffanie Boyd, senior vice president and chief people officer for McDonald’s, said the reports “run afoul of the high expectations we have for the entire McDonald’s brand” and that the company is “committed to ensuring our franchisees have the resources they need to foster safe workplaces for all employees and maintain compliance with all labor laws.”

Key Background

Piecemeal reports by the Department of Labor show hundreds of minors working in illegal conditions dating back to at least 2018, when federal officials said 11 restaurants in northern New Jersey were violating labor laws. Other instances include 35 child employees found across 12 locations in North Carolina and a $50,000 civil penalty for violations at 11 locations in Idaho in 2020. The Biden Administration earlier this year said it would crack down on violators of child labor regulations, even as a handful of states move to relax their laws.


Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed a law in March that relaxes rules around verifying the age of workers under 16 and gives 14- and 15-year-olds work certificates. Last month, Iowa lawmakers passed a bill that lets teens work more hours and in more places.

Big Number

$143,566. That’s how much the Kentucky operator of 27 locations was fined when 242 minors were found to be working illegally. Fines charged in other violations ranged from $8,000 to $50,000.

Further Reading

McDonald’s child labor audit demanded by some shareholder groups (Washington Post)

How Businesses Can Stop Child Labor In Their Supply Chains (Forbes)

A Further Nine Million Children At Risk Of Child Labor As A Result Of Covid-19 Pandemic (Forbes)

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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