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Child labor violations reported at New England restaurants, including Dunkin' and McDonald's

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MANCHESTER, N.H. - The U.S. Department of Labor is highlighting child labor law violations it says it found 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 to operate ovens and fryers that left a few young workers with burns.

Nine McDonald's locations in New Hampshire and Vermont owned by Coughlin Inc. and 12 Dunkin' shops run by Vermont Donut Enterprises and related LLCs were found to have violation. Between the two companies, eight minors received burns while cooking and 186 young employees exceeded federal hours restrictions, the Labor Department said. The McDonald's franchise owner was fined $109,125 for the violations, and the Dunkin' companies paid $49,756. Both signed "enhanced" compliance agreements that aim to prevent future child labor violations. 

Tuscan Sea Grill in Newburyport, Massachusetts, 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 for having one 13-year-old employed, the Labor Department said. 

Click here for more information on the violations. 

The Labor Department says that while businesses may be looking to hiring younger workers in a tight job market, it's important to make sure they are 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," said Wage and Hour District Director Steven McKinney in a statement. "We encourage employers to be proactive and to use best practice measures to ensure they protect young workers."

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