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Chick-fil-A Location Shuts Down ‘Volunteer’ Program That Offered Meals Instead of Pay

Chick-fil-A Location Shuts Down 'Volunteer' Program That Offered Meals Instead of Pay

A Chick-fil-A store in Henderson, North Carolina, is coming under fire for trying to pay their “volunteers” with chicken instead of money.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, the location advertised for people to work in the new drive-thru, offering to pay them five free entree meals for every shift they worked, per The Washington Post.

“We are looking for volunteers for our new Drive Thru Express!” the store reportedly wrote. “Earn 5 free entrees per shift (1 hr) worked. Message us for details.”

A representative for the chain confirmed to PEOPLE that the store has since ended the program.

“Most restaurants are individually owned and operated, and it was a program at an individually owned restaurant,” a Chick-fil-A spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. They added that the program was not endorsed by Chick-fil-A, Inc.

By offering this alternate form of payment, the store has been accused of ignoring the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which The Washington Post states is the federal law that ensures employees are compensated for every hour worked.

The location asserted that it was a “volunteer-based opportunity,” not a full-time or part-time job, and was advertised to people who might “think it’s a good fit for them.”

According to the outlet, the store wrote a separate Facebook post in response to the online backlash: “We’ve had multiple people sign up and enjoy doing and have done it multiple times. People who sign up for this chose it voluntarily.”

CHICK FIL A

CHICK FIL A

Jennifer Haigwood, director of communications for the North Carolina Department of Labor, told The Washington Post in regards to the situation that the FLSA’s requirements private for-profit employers “are clear that there cannot be an employee who provides ‘volunteer’ work for that for-profit employer.”

“Generally, labeling a worker as a ‘volunteer’ will not remove the employer from its FLSA obligation to pay the required wages if that individual performs work that benefits the for-profit entity,” Haigwood said.

The Hendersonville store followed-up on the backlash in another social media post by saying that the payment idea was for customers of the location “to earn free food to simply traffic direct other guests.”

“Usually a win-win for us and the volunteer who gets free Chick-fil-A!” the store wrote, according to VICE News. “That way, our team can focus on serving the guests in what we do best.”

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“As a result, there’s an expression of desire from the community to be more a part of what that brand is doing,” said store manager Ryan, who refused to give his full name to VICE. “We get people all the time that want to be a part of what we’re doing. This is designed to be an opportunity for that.”