POWELL, TN – The nation’s largest Bojangles franchise owner will make enterprise-wide changes to improve working conditions for minor-aged employees and compliance with federal labor regulations at their 118 locations in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee after entering an enhanced compliance agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor. The agreement comes after investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found BOJ of WNC LLC — based in Arden, North Carolina — violated federal child labor laws at a Bojangles location in Powell. This is the second time in less than two years that the division cited the company for similar violations. Specifically, the division determined BOJ of WNC employed 13 children to work at the Powell restaurant after 7 p.m. between Labor Day and June 1, more than three hours during a school day, and during school hours, all of which violated child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, BOJ of WNC employed three 15-year-olds to use an oven for baking biscuits and a manual grease fryer, tasks the department has identified as hazardous for young workers.“While learning new workforce skills is a valuable part of growing up, an employer must never jeopardize the safety and well-being of young workers or interfere with their education,” explained Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Juan Coria in Atlanta. “The Fair Labor Standards Act allows young people to gain appropriate work experience but includes important restrictions on work hours and job duties. Employers must avoid violations or potentially face costly consequences, and to help, we encourage them to use the division’s child labor compliance resources or contact our staff for guidance.” The agency assessed BOJ of WNC with a $27,586 civil money penalty for allowing similar working hours violations as those identified in March 2022 at a Bojangles in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In that case, 16 minor-aged employees were affected, and the division assessed $11,744 in civil money penalties.As part of the agreement, BOJ of WNC will take the following steps to ensure future compliance: Stop 14- and 15-year-olds from using manual fryers or engaging in cooking activities in any of the occupations prohibited under the law. The employer will also post written notices on equipment not permitted for use by minor-aged employees in its stores.Refrain from employing 14- and 15-year-olds to work outside of legally prescribed hours.Distribute a copy of the child labor provisions for non-agricultural occupations under the FLSA to all current and future locations owned by the enterprise and require all managers and shift leaders to return a compliance acknowledgement, certifying that they are currently in compliance with the applicable child labor laws. Require all 14- and 15-year-old workers, and their parents or guardians, to sign an understanding of the child labor occupational and hours requirements under the law.Ensure area directors perform quarterly reviews of time records for 14- and 15-year-old workers.Add prohibited occupations for minor-aged employees to BOJ of WNC’s policy manuals, including cooking activities, use of deep fryers, long periods inside freezers or meat coolers, and adjustment or cleaning of power-driven machinery such as slicers, choppers and mixers. Headquartered in Arden, BOJ of WNC LLC operates 118 restaurants under the Bojangles banner and employs approximately 4,000 workers. Founded in 1977 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bojangles Inc. is a restaurant operator and franchisor with approximately 760 company-owned and franchised restaurant locations.In fiscal year 2023, the Wage and Hour Division found child labor violations in more than 950 investigations, resulting in more than $8 million in penalties assessed to employers. The YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor and its partners promote developmental work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law.Workers and employers can call the division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the agency, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android or iOS Timesheet App for free in English and Spanish.
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