Wednesday, March 21, 2007

McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, Eagle Boys charged with exploiting children in WA

March 20, 2007 - Fast food chains across WA have been charged and fined for illegally employing children. Hungry Jacks, McDonalds and Eagle Boys Pizza have been fined for employing children...

Three fast food companies in Western Australia have been fined almost $100,000 for illegally employing children aged under 15.

In the Industrial Magistrate's Court, Hungry Jacks in Kalgoorlie and Joondalup have pleaded guilty to 52 charges of breaching the act. McDonalds in Kalgoorlie has pleaded guilty to 26 charges and Eagle Boys Pizza, also in Kalgoorlie, has been fined for four breaches, including employing a 12-year-old child.

Three Kalgoorlie fast food outlets have been fined a total of $94,000 after pleading guilty to charges of breaching the law governing the employment of children. Hungry Jack's, McDonald's and Eagle Boys Pizza were all fined in the Perth Industrial Magistrates Court yesterday for a range of offences that included illegally employing children under the age of 13 and not seeking parental permission to employ a child under the age of 15.

The Hungry Jack's store in Joondalup was also fined for similar breaches of the Children and Community Services Act. Labour Relations acting director of compliance and education, Joseph Lee, said the charges were disappointing because all the businesses had been informed of the law prior to the incidents occurring.

“Under the Act children under 13 years of age are not permitted to work in such businesses at any time and employers must have written consent of a parent or guardian before employing a child aged less than 15,” Mr Lee said. It is also illegal for children between the ages of 13 and 15 to work shifts that start before 6am and finish after 10pm.

Hungry Jack's said it accepted responsibility for the breaches and had regretted the incidents. McDonald's Kalgoorlie was fined $25,000 for 26 charges. Four of the charges were for illegally employing children under 13 years. These children worked a total of 103 shifts - outside the hours permitted for a child 13 to 15 years of age.

Eagle Boys Pizza was fined $4000 for four charges, including one count of employing a 12-year-old child to work six shifts and two counts of employing children aged less than 15 years outside permitted hours. The company was also fined for failing to obtain written consent from a parent. An Eagle Boys spokesman said the company regretted the breaches.

More charges against McDonalds in Rockingham have been adjourned until next month.


* Under the Children and Community Services Act, it is illegal for children under 13 years to work in restaurants, and children aged between 13 and 15 cannot work shifts that start before 6:00am or finish after 10:00pm.

Fast food chains fined for illegally employing children - ABC
Fast food outlets exploited children - The West

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