(CNN) — Two 10-year-old children were found working at a Louisville McDonald’s restaurant — sometimes until 2 a.m. — the US Department of Labor said Tuesday.

The revelation was part of an investigation into the child labor law violations in the Southeast. The agency also found three franchisees that own more than 60 McDonald’s locations in Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio, “employed 305 children to work more than the legally permitted hours and perform tasks prohibited by law for young workers,” the Labor Department said in a statement.

The franchisees, Bauer Food, Archways Richwood and Bell Restaurant Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CNN has also reached out to McDonald’s for comment.

“Investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour Division found two 10-year-old workers at a Louisville McDonald’s restaurant among many violations of federal labor laws committed by three Kentucky McDonald’s franchise operators,” the release said. “Investigators also determined two 10-year-old children were employed — but not paid — and sometimes worked as late as 2 a.m.”

The three franchisees face a combined $212,754 in civil money penalties for the child labor violations, the release said.

“Too often, employers fail to follow the child labor laws that protect young workers,” said Karen Garnett-Civils, the agency’s wage and hour division district director, in a statement. “Under no circumstances should there ever be a 10-year-old child working in a fast-food kitchen around hot grills, ovens and deep fryers.”

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