Chick-fil-A Franchisee Fined for Letting Teen Employees Operate Dangerous Machinery

The restaurant also reportedly paid workers in meals rather than money.

By Steve Huff

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

According to federal officials, three minor teens working at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in North Carolina operated dangerous machinery in violation of labor laws.

A press release from the U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL) said that the Highland Square franchisee in Henderson, N.C., will have to pay fines for letting teens operate a trash compactor, a hazardous machine for anyone under 18 to use.

The DOL's Wage and Hour Division also found that the franchise paid some employees in meal vouchers rather than money, violating minimum wage laws. So now the restaurant will have to issue $235 in back wages to seven employees.

The DOL reports that this isn't the first time in 2022 that a Chick-fil-A has faced child labor penalties. Last August, a Tampa, Florida restaurant was slapped with $12,478 in fines for allowing 17 workers between the ages of 14 and 15 to work past 7 p.m. and for more than 3 hours on school days.

The press release quoted Richard Blaylock, the DOL's Wage and Hour Division District Director in Raleigh, North Carolina, who said, "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 the Charlotte Observer, the same Chick-fil-A location made news in July 2022 when it posted a Facebook notice seeking volunteers to work the drive-through there for "5 free entrees per shift (1 hr) worked." The restauant removed the post after it went viral and received numerous angry comments.

Contacted at the time for comment by Business Insider, Chick-fil-A corporate told the Observer that it didn't endorse asking for volunteers, and the restaurant pulled the plug on the program.

Steve Huff

Entrepreneur Staff

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