New York —
On Tuesday, New Jersey officials shut down over two dozen Boston Market restaurants and fined the food chain over $2.6 million for “multiple violations of workers’ rights,” including the failure to pay salaries.
After discovering over $600,000 in back pay owing to 314 workers and $1.2 million in liquidated damages, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued 27 “stop-work” orders to Boston Markets around the state, according to a press statement.
“With restaurants across the country, Boston Market needs to set a better example for fair treatment of its workers,” stated Joseph Petrecca, associate commissioner of the NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour and Contract Compliance. The NJDOL website features a comprehensive directory of all available sites.
Liquidated damages of $1.2 million and administrative fees and penalties of $570,000 were also assessed against the privately owned chain.
Boston Market did not provide a comment right away.
If the company reopens while under a stop-work order, the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) has threatened to punish it $5,000 per day. “Lifting the order if and when all related issues have been resolved and any outstanding back wages and penalties have been paid,” the agency stated.
Troubles at Boston Market
Since the Rohan Group of Companies, of which Engage Brands is a subsidiary, bought Boston Market three years ago, the chain’s fortunes have been bleak.
Boston Market is being sued for $12 million by food distributor US Foods, who claims that the poultry restaurant has not paid $11 million in bills over the course of two years. Plus, there are additional back-pay cases from landlords in Arizona and Massachusetts.
Only a few short years ago, Boston Market had more than a thousand outlets across the United States. That number has dropped precipitously and is presently about 300.