A Chick-fil-A owner in North Carolina had to pay back workers and was fined more than $6,000 after violating several child labor and minimum wage rules.
On Monday, the Department of Labor reportedly released a report saying that the Chick-fil-A site in Hendersonville, North Carolina, permitted three employees who were minors to work, unload, or load a trash compactor. This resulted in the site, whose owner is Good Name 22:1 LLC, being fined $6,450.
According to the Department of Labor, workers must be at least 18 years old to work in nonagricultural work that is “particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old minors, or detrimental to their health or well-being.” Fourteen and fifteen-year-olds are also not allowed to do any jobs that are hazardous. Such hazardous jobs include “[m]anufacturing or storing explosives,” “[d]riving a motor vehicle or work as an outside helper on motor vehicles,” working in forest fire fighting, as well as “the operation of all compactors and balers and certain power-driven paper products machines,” and more.
The guidelines note that “[s]ixteen- and 17-year-olds may load, but not operate or unload, certain scrap paper balers and paper box compactors under very specific guidelines.”
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division also put fines in place on the Chick-fil-A site after it found that the site paid specific workers with meal vouchers rather than giving them real money. The workers were in charge of traffic in the drive-thru area and parking lot traffic.
The restaurants had to shell out $235 in back pay to seven workers because they broke the rule.
Richard Blaylock, the Wage and Hour Division District director in Raleigh, North Carolina, said that keeping the youngest employees safe is a main focus of his group.
“Child labor laws ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities. In addition, employers are responsible to pay workers for all of the hours worked and the payment must be made in cash or legal tender,” he continued.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) established a minimum wage for the entire country, and established a limit on the amount of hours for those who worked in interstate commerce. It also put limits on the ability of kids to work.
According to the Department of Labor, the child labor “provisions [of the FLSA] are designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors and prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to their health or well-being.”