HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. – The U.S. Department of Labor fined a North Carolina Chick-fil-A after it says the restaurant violated federal child labor and minimum wage regulations after paying some employees with meal vouchers instead of a wage.
The violation was among several at the restaurant, according to a Wednesday news release by the Labor Department, and it received a $6,450 fine. The Labor Department said the Hendersonville Chick-fil-A allowed three workers under the age of 18 to operate a trash compactor, in violation of federal child-labor regulations that prohibit employing minors to perform hazardous jobs.
The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division investigation also found the restaurant paid employees, who worked to direct traffic, to work for meal vouchers rather than wages, in violation of federal minimum wage law.
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The restaurant was ordered to pay $235 in back wages owed to seven workers in addition to the fine.
In July, the same Chick-Fil-A location faced stiff public backlash when it posted a request on social media for "volunteers" to work the restaurant’s new drive-thru express. The fast-food chicken restaurant promised food instead of monetary compensation.
The post was later taken down after receiving a stream of negative comments. A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A said at the time that the program had been canceled and was not endorsed by the company.
Whether or not this prompted the investigation remains unclear. According to Eric Lucero, a Department of Labor spokesperson, the Wage and Hour Division conducts investigations "for a number of reasons, all having to do with enforcement of the laws and assuring an employer’s compliance."
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