By law in North Carolina, workers are required to receive a minimum wage and be protected by other regulations. Employers are aware of this and must adhere to the rules. However, many workers—often entry level, young or immigrants—are not up to date on what they are supposed to be paid. They might be intimidated and worried about retaining the job if they speak out.
However, the minimum wage law is in place to shield workers from mistreatment and abuse. Paying attention to recent cases in which workers were not paid what they were supposed to can provide an example of what to look for. Employees who believe they have had their rights violated should also understand the value of qualified assistance.
Fast food franchise penalized for minimum wage violations
A North Carolina Chick-fil-A was fined by the U.S. Department of Labor for several wage law violations. The restaurant did not adhere to the federal laws for child labor and minimum wage. According to the complaint, employees were not given wages, but meal vouchers.
This was just one of the violations the restaurant was accused of committing. It was fined $6,450. One violation included employees under 18 being told to use a trash compactor—a hazardous task minors are not legally allowed to do.
The workers who received meal vouchers were hired to direct traffic. They were supposed to have been paid wages, but were not. Those workers were awarded back pay of $235 for work they had done. This specific restaurant faced prior scrutiny when it asked for volunteers via social media for workers to staff its drive-thru. Those workers would have gotten food in lieu of payment.
Following the backlash, investigations into this restaurant’s employment practices were conducted culminating with the discovery of the other violations. More than two decades ago, the business was also fined for child labor violations.
Employers can be held accountable for employment violations
People who are supposed to earn a certain amount in wages but are not paid according to the law should know their rights. While in this case, teens were primarily victimized, it can happen to anyone. It is common in the food service industry, but occurs in many types of employment.
To find solutions to employee rights violations, having experienced legal assistance is key. A legal claim can receive back pay and other benefits that the worker was deprived of. For advice, it is wise to call for help immediately to move forward with a case to get what the worker is owed in pay, benefits and more.