- The New Jersey Department of Labor on Monday issued stop-work orders at 27 Boston Market units in the state, citing $600,000 in back wages owed to 314 workers and total damages of almost $2.6 million stemming from other labor law violations.
- The NJDOL is the latest player in Boston Market’s slow collapse. The chain has faced suits from creditors and vendors, and the Colorado Department of Revenue seized its Colorado headquarters over unpaid taxes.
- Problems have mounted at the chain in the three years since it was sold to Jingnesh Pandya’s Rohan Group in 2020. Boston Market did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The stop-work orders are among the most aggressive actions taken by the NJDOL since Gov. Phil Murphy authorized the agency to issue stop-work orders in 2019. With 27 units covered, the Boston Market orders comprise roughly one-fifth of the 138 such issued by NJDOL in the last four years.
The department’s Division of Wage and Hour and Contract Compliance began investigating labor practices at Boston Market last November, following a tip from a worker.
“Since then, nearly three dozen additional complaints have been received,” according to the press release.
According to NJDOL, “initial findings included citations for: unpaid/late payment of wages, hindrance of the investigation, failure to pay minimum wage, records violations, failure to pay earned sick leave, and failure to maintain records for earned sick leave.”
The company has faced scrutiny for unpaid wages since at least November 2021, when Thomas Fitzpatrick, an employee of the chain for more than 20 years, filed a class action suit against Boston Market in federal court over alleged violations of timely pay laws in New York. That suit was voluntarily dismissed in May. In July, Boston Market employees in Massachusetts sued the company over unpaid wages.
In August, workers in Arizona filed a class action lawsuit against the company on behalf of workers at “locations in Arizona who did not receive at least the minimum wage, did not receive any paycheck at all, or received late payment of a paycheck in a given workweek, from May 2023 through the present.”
The complaint in the Arizona case alleged that Boston Market “failed to pay any of their employees in any of their Arizona Boston Market restaurant locations any wages whatsoever for time worked in a given workweek,” beginning in May 2023.
The NJDOL can assess fines of $5,000 per day against employers that continue to operate in violation of stop-work orders.