A Chick-fil-A in North Carolina was busted by the Department of Labor (DOL) this week after a federal investigation uncovered that the franchisee was using underage workers and paying others in food vouchers. The store was fined $6,450, the DOL announced.
According to a statement from the DOL, the store was allowing three workers under 18 to “operate, load or unload a trash compactor,” violations of federal child labor laws that prohibit minors from performing dangerous tasks.
It was also discovered that the company that rakes in around $11.3 billion annually, according to Business Insider, and was asking certain employees to direct traffic and then paying them in meal vouchers rather than wages, a “violation of minimum wage provisions.”
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“Protecting our youngest workers continues to be a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division … 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,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Additionally, seven employees at the North Carolina franchise were owed $235 in back wages.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time the Georgia-based fast-food company used underage employees.
In August, a store in Tampa, Florida, was fined $12,478 after investigators found the employer had allowed 17 workers, ages 14 to 15, to work past 7 PM—three full hours past the law during school days.
To many in the LGBTQ community and its allies, Chick-fil-A is synonymous with its biased stance on same-sex marriage and the LGBTQ community.
According to a 2011 report, the former owner of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, gave significant donations to anti-gay watchdog groups and proudly said, “guilty as charged,” when asked if he supported anti-LGBTQ marriage initiatives.
In 2019, after intense pressure and boycotts, executives at the company announced that it would end its support of the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, thus ostensibly cutting ties with virulent anti-LGBTQ charities.
But it’s common knowledge that the company’s foundation is in Christianity. The Bible is frequently cited in operating manuals. Even today, on the Chick-fil-A website, the principles of the company are openly displayed: "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A." (No one has yet provided the scripture responsible for exploiting minors’ labor.)
Cathy told The Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2011, “It’s not a Christian company … It’s a company that operates on biblical principles. ... They really work.”
Cathy may have stepped down from Chick-fil-A as its head and handed the reins to his sons, and the company may have said it will end its support of some of the anti-LGBTQ charities, but according to Them, Cathy himself has been quietly lobbying against the Equality Act—landmark legislation that protects equality based on sexual orientation and gender in housing, health care, education, and more.