Bojangles Franchisee Pays Penalties For Violating Child Labor Laws

The largest Bojangles franchise is paying $11,700 in penalties for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in a case involving 16 minors working outside permitted hours.

The discovery of these violations followed a federal investigation in Spartanburg, S.C., where the company was accused of letting minors work at hours when school was in session, which is an FLSA violation.

Franchisee’s Response

Following the investigation and the penalties, the franchisee has implemented sweeping changes at their stores spread across six states. While expressing his regret for the unfortunate event Allyson Campbell, the senior marketing director for BOJ of WNC, said the company responded quickly by putting up measures to ensure that the unfortunate event doesn’t recur.

BOJ of WNC owns 93 Bojangles restaurants in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Georgia.

“BOJ of WNC efforts to implement change is a perfect example of how enforcement and compliance can work hand in hand to serve as a roadmap for other employers,” says corporate lawyer Jason Power of Franchise.Law.

Sweeping Changes

Some of the changes that BOJ of WNC seeks to implement across their chains include retraining the HR department and other employees about permissible working hours and jobs for minors and displaying child labor posters in all their restaurants.

Additionally, the company seeks to get a copy of documents that provide a child’s age, which they hold on to for the entire duration the minor works at their establishments. The parents of minors working at the establishments will also get educative pamphlets outlining child labor regulations.

FLSA Guidelines for Child Employees

If you rely on minors to get some tasks done in your business, you may need to familiarize yourself with FLSA guidelines on employees below 18, with 14 being the minimum employment age under FLSA. However, children below 14 may still help in their parent’s business if they do not work in an occupation under Hazardous Occupation Orders.

Also, the child can engage in work for hire as long as the nature of work is exempt from FLSA, such as acting, delivering papers, performing minor chores at private residences, and casual babysitting.

Ages 14 and 15

Minors aged 14 to 15 can only work outside school hours in a non-manufacturing setting for a limited period and under specified conditions, including not working for more than three hours on school days, including Fridays.

On weekends and holidays, the longest the minor can work is 8 hours, and they cannot work for more than 18 hours a week when school is in session and 40 hours when it is not.

Also, they cannot work past 7 PM except between June 1st and Labor Day, when evening hours extend up to 9 PM.

Ages 16 and Older

16 is the basic minimum age of employment where a minor is free to work for an unlimited time. However, they still cannot work in occupations classified as hazardous by the Labor Secretary.

Other requirements for employers that engage minors include providing proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for the minors based on their work environment. They must also make the minors aware of all potential hazards in the workplace and display a poster declaring the presence of a minor employee.

At 18, a person is no longer subject to FLSA’s youth employment guidelines which means they can work for unlimited hours and in any occupation they choose. Other state laws may also apply, so you need to research your state labor laws to ensure compliance. 

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