State officials shut down 27 Boston Market restaurants in New Jersey, enforcing laws that protect workers’ rights by temporarily closing the locations until the employer pays $2.5 million in back wages, fines and other penalties for cheating workers.
The state Department of Labor issued the stop-work orders after finding multiple violations of workers’ rights, including more than $600,000 in back wages owed to 314 workers.
The investigation was prompted when the NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour and Contract Compliance received a complaint in November 2022 from a Boston Market worker at 770 Route 33 in Hamilton, Mercer County.
Since then, nearly three dozen additional complaints have been received naming several New Jersey Boston Market locations.
Initial findings included citations for unpaid or 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.
“With restaurants across the country, Boston Market needs to set a better example for fair treatment of its workers,” said Assistant Commissioner Joseph Petrecca, the head of the Division of Wage and Hour and Contract Compliance.
Initial findings of the investigation were sent to parent company Boston Chicken of NJ, LLC d/b/a Boston Market headquartered in Golden, Colo., to C.E.O. Jignesh Pandya of Newtown, Pa., and to the registered agent of the company at Princeton South Corporate Center in Ewing.
Investigators found $607,471 in back wages owed to 314 workers, as well as $1,214,942 in liquidated damages.
Boston Chicken of NJ has also been assessed an administrative fee of $182,241.30 plus $549,500 in administrative penalties, for a total of $2,554,154.30.
Stop-work orders are initiated by the Department of Labor to halt work being performed in a manner that exploits workers or is otherwise noncompliant with state laws and regulations.
An employer may appeal a stop-work order, in which case the Department of Labor has seven days to schedule a hearing. Boston Market has requested a hearing.
Department of Labor inspectors continue to monitor locations where stop-work orders have been issued and they can assess civil penalties of $5,000 per day against an employer conducting business in violation of the order.
The stop-work order may be lifted if and when any remaining back wages and penalties have been paid and all related issues have been resolved.
Below is the complete list of Boston Market locations that were issued a stop-work order:
- 491 Ridge Rd, North Arlington, NJ 07031
- 314 Essex Street, Lodi, NJ 07644
- 180 Hackensack Avenue, Hackensack, NJ 07602
- 21-20 Broadway, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
- 321 Broad Street, Ridgefield, NJ 07657
- 20 Wycoff Avenue, Waldwick, NJ 07463
- 395 NJ-17, Mahwah, NJ 07430
- 175 Kinderkamack Road, Emerson, NJ 07630
- 275 Livingston Street, North Vale, NJ 07647
- 471 Central Avenue, East Orange, NJ 07018
- 247 NJ-10 East, Succasunna, NJ 07876
- 332 Route 10 West, East Hanover, NJ 07936
- 1160 US-46, Clifton, NJ 07013
- 1342 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07012
- 523 Chestnut Street Union, NJ 07083
- 770 Route 33, Hamilton, NJ 08619
- 1729 N. Olden Avenue, Ewing Township, NJ 08638
- 300 Rt-18, East Brunswick, NJ 08816
- 878 US Rt. 1 North Bound, Edison, NJ 08817
- 1560 St. Georges Avenue, Avenel, NJ 07001
- 4159 US 9, Howell, NJ 07731
- 1103 Broad Street, Shrewsbury, NJ 07702
- 900 Easton Avenue #165, Somerset, NJ 08873
- 514 High Street, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060
- 5716 Blackhorse Pike, Blackwood, NJ 08012
- 891 Hurffville Road, Woodbury, NJ 08096
- 301 S. Main Road, Vineland, NJ 08360
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has issued 138 stop-work orders since this power was expanded in July 2019.