A Chick-Fil-A franchise in North Carolina was fined over $6,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor for paying underage employees with meal vouchers and allowing them to operate heavy machinery.
Following a federal investigation, the Hendersonville, N.C. franchise, Good Name 22:1 LLC, was found to have illegally paid workers who were directing traffic with meal vouchers rather than wages.
The location also violated child labor regulations prohibiting minors to perform hazardous jobs by allowing three underage workers to operate a trash compactor.
In a since-deleted Facebook post from July 26, the location had posted a volunteer job opening which granted volunteers five free entrees per every hour of work. Critics took to social media to denounce the franchise for failing to pay employees legal wages.
“We are looking for volunteers for our new Drive Thru Express! Earn 5 free entrees per shift (1 hr) worked,” the post wrote.
After backlash, the store posted: “This is a volunteer-based opportunity, which means people can opt in to volunteer if they think it’s a good fit for them. We’ve had multiple people sign up and enjoy doing and have done it multiple times. People who sign up for this chose it voluntarily. We are still hiring full time and part time team members, so if you are interested in working in our store, we pay $19/hr.”
The franchise name, Good Name 22:1 LLC, comes from the bible verse Proverbs 22:1 which reads, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
The company was fined $6,450 for child labor violations and $235 in unpaid wages to seven employees.
“Protecting our youngest workers continues to be a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division,” said Richard Blaylock, a Labor Department Wage and Hour Division District Director In North Carolina.