Thursday, July 28, 2022

Unlike ordering at Chick-Fil-A, legal compliance isn’t chosen from a menu.

"We are looking for volunteers for our new Drive Thru Express!🚘 Earn 5 free entrees per shift (1 hr) worked. Message us for details"

Anyone see anything wrong with this (since deleted) post? I sure do, as does my friend Suzanne Lucas (aka the Evil HR Lady), who correctly points out: "You cannot do this. Even if you want to declare yourself the Lord's chicken, you are still a for-profit business, and for-profit businesses cannot have volunteers. Not ever. Paying in sandwiches does not count."

To put in more succinctly, In a for-profit business, volunteer labor is illegal. Hard stop. 

More troubling, however, than the fact that this franchisee is seeking free labor to staff its drive-in lane is its response to those who dare to suggest that free labor is illegal.
Thanks for everyone's concern on this matter. This is a volunteer based opportunity, which means people can opt in to volunteer if they think it's a good fit for them. 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. We are still hiring full time and part time team members, so if you are interested in working at our store, we pay $19/hr. The opportunity above is simply for those who want to earn some free Chick-fil-A. Thank you!

If this business owner is this willing to ignore the fact that free labor is very, very illegal (even if people "volunteer" for it and "enjoy doing it"), what other laws is he violating? Is he properly paying overtime to his paid employees? Is he complying with the myriad anti-discrimination laws? Child labor laws? OSHA and employee safety? What about food safety? 

Unlike ordering your meal at a Chick-Fil-A, legal compliance isn't done off a menu. You can't pick and choose the laws with which you want to comply and ignore the others. Legal compliance is not optional.