SPARTANBURG, SC – A federal investigation into child labor violations at a Spartanburg Bojangles has led the franchisee to partner with the U.S. Department of Labor to make sweeping changes to enhance working conditions for minor-aged workers and compliance with labor laws at the operator’s 93 locations in six states.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigators determined that BOJ of WNC LLC – operating as Bojangles 0212 – permitted 16 minors to work outside of permitted hours while school is in session, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The division assessed an $11,744 civil money penalty to address the violation.
The investigation’s findings prompted the Bojangles’ franchisee to work with the division to begin an enterprise-wide review of the workplace practices at the franchisees’ 93 locations in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. BOJ of WNC LLC has agreed to take the following steps to ensure future compliance with federal laws:
- Re-train all managers involved in hiring practices on legal working times and permissible jobs for minors, and ensure they understand terms associated with child labor laws.
- Add additional training for current and new employees outlining federal guidelines for the employment of minors.
- Display the child labor poster at all locations.
- Identify when 14- or 15-year-old workers clock in and out to ensure working times are in compliance with child labor requirements.
- Maintain documents that prove birth dates for all minors within the enterprise.
- Distribute pamphlets outlining child labor regulations to parents of underage workers.
“Once this Bojangles franchise operator learned of violations in Spartanburg, they took action to ensure the young workers they employ in six states gain valuable workplace experience without compromising education or safety,” explained Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Juan Coria in Atlanta. “This is an example of how enforcement and compliance assistance can work hand-in-hand, and it serves as a roadmap for other employers to follow to avoid costly violations.”
Founded in 1977 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bojangles Inc. is a restaurant operator and franchisor with approximately 760 restaurants in 14 states.
In fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the Wage and Hour Division’s Southeast region found child labor violations in more than 190 food service employers investigated, resulting in more than $1 million in penalties assessed to employers. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting near record levels of workers quitting their jobs, and record low unemployment rates, the current job market is forcing employers to be highly competitive.
“Employers who fail to ensure workers are safe and paid their full wages and benefits will find it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain the people they need to be successful,” Coria added. “Employers who abide by the law will have a competitive advantage over those who do not.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including resources available online where employers, parents, teachers, and minor workers can get information about protections for young workers on the department’s YouthRules! website.