'This Is Unacceptable': Chick-fil-A Slammed With Fine After Paying Employees With Meal Vouchers

The North Carolina location claims that the positions were voluntary in nature.

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By Emily Rella

Chick-fil-A fans may dream of free food from the coveted chain, but for workers in one North Carolina-based location, it looks like free meals were all they were getting.

The Department of Labor has slammed a Hendersonville, North Carolina Chick-fil-A with fines for paying off employees who served as drive-thru traffic directors with meal vouchers instead of traditional wages.

The restaurant was ordered to pay back $235 each to seven employees, bringing the grand total of money owed to $1,645.

The report says that denying the workers minimum wage is a direct violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Eagle-eyed social media users caught the restaurant asking for "volunteers" to come direct traffic in exchange for five free meals per shift on their Facebook page in a now-deleted post that has been screenshotted and shared to Twitter.

"This is a volunteer-based opportunity, which means people can opt-in to volunteer if they think it's a good fit for them," the restaurant clarified in a screenshotted response to angry commenters claiming that it was a labor law violation. "We've had multiple people sign up and enjoy doing and have done it multiple times."

The Department of Labor report also claims that the restaurant allowed three employees under the age of 18 to operate a trash compactor, violating child labor laws that prohibit minors from performing dangerous jobs.

"Protecting our youngest workers continues to be a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division," Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock in Raleigh, North Carolina said in a Department of Labor release. "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."

According to PayScale, Chick-fil-A employees make an average of $12.51 per hour, ranging from $8.77 to $19.44 per hour. The average pay for an employee with the company in North Carolina is $13.53.

Entrepreneur has reached out to Chick-fil-A for further comment.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Emily Rella is a news writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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