- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division
Media Contact for Burger King Franchisee to Pay $250,000 Penalty
Boston — A Burger King franchisee with 43 stores in Massachusetts has agreed to pay a $250,000 penalty and has come into compliance with state law after an investigation found more than 800 child labor violations at stores across the state, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The AG’s Office cited Northeast Foods, LLC, headquartered in Sugarland, TX, and owner Shoukat Dhanani, for violating state child labor laws by employing minors who were working too long, too late, and without proper work permits. Dhanani is the second largest Burger King franchise owner in the country and owns Burger King locations in several states.
“Many fast food employees are young, working their first jobs, and do not know their rights,” said AG Healey. “It’s important that this major national Burger King franchisee, which employees a number of young people, complies with child labor laws and ensures that minors are safe in its restaurants.”
The AG’s Fair Labor Division began an investigation after it received a single complaint that a minor employee was working too late at a location in Tewksbury.
The AG’s investigation revealed that between January and May 2017 there were 843 violations of child labor laws at nearly 30 locations in Massachusetts. Among the violations uncovered were minors working shifts that exceeded the total maximum daily hours allowed or shifts that ended later than allowed under state law, in some instances past 3 a.m. Many of the minor employees also did not have the proper work permits. Along with agreeing to pay the penalty over the next year, Northeast Foods swiftly updated its practices and has since come into compliance with all Massachusetts child labor laws.
Child labor laws prescribe how many hours minors can work each day or per week and how late they can work, depending their age. Employers must also obtain work permits for all minors in their employment.
Child labor laws require the following to ensure a safe and positive work experience for minors:
- Minimum wage. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $11 an hour.
- Minors younger than 14 may not work. There are a few exceptions, such as babysitting, working as a news carrier, working on farms, or working in entertainment (with a special permit).
- Work Permits. Workers under 18 years old need a new work permit for every job. The application for a work permit must be filled out by the parent or guardian, the minor, and employer and submitted to the school district where the child lives or attends school. Minors who are 14 or 15 also need a physician’s signature. For more information about work permits and to download an application, visit www.mass.gov/dols/youth.
- Hazardous Jobs. Teens under 18 years of age are prohibited from doing certain kinds of dangerous work. For a list of prohibited tasks for minors 14-15 and 16-17 years old, go to www.mass.gov/ago/youthemployment.
- Supervision. After 8 p.m., all workers under 18 must have the direct and immediate supervision of an adult supervisor who is located in the workplace and is reasonably accessible to the minor.
- Legal Work Hours for Minors. Massachusetts law controls how early and how late minors may work and how many hours they may work, based on their age. To determine the relevant the legal work hours go to www.mass.gov/ago/youthemployment.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Amy Goyer and Investigator Christina Proietti, both of AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division.