Twenty-seven Boston Market locations have reopened after 314 employees received more than $630,000 in back wages, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor.
In August, the New Jersey government ordered these stores to close after discovering several workers’ rights violations. Some examples include 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 investigation began in November 2022 when the New Jersey Department of Labor received a complaint from someone who worked at a Boston Market restaurant in Hamilton Township. After that, almost 36 more complaints were filed from other locations. The department listed one instance where a woman and the 12 workers she managed went without paychecks for two months. Among them, they received $15,000 in back wages.
“We’re glad this investigation resulted in every dollar making it into the pockets of those who earned the money. Hopefully this action puts other bad actors on notice: ‘If you don’t pay your workers, we will shut you down,'” said labor commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo in a statement.
Boston Market, under the leadership of Jay Pandya and owned by the Rohan Group of Companies, changed hands in April 2020 when it was acquired from the private equity firm Sun Capital Partners.
Established in 1985, this chicken chain expanded rapidly, reaching approximately 1,200 locations within the span of a dozen years. However, this growth story eventually took a downturn. In 1998, Boston Market declared bankruptcy due to declining unit-level profitability and a substantial debt burden. Two years later, McDonald’s stepped in and acquired the company. Boston Market remained in McDonald’s hands until 2007 when it was sold to Sun Capital.
Over the past few years, Boston Market has undergone significant downsizing, with its nationwide presence shrinking to around 300 locations. Concerns and grievances have emerged from management, employees, and suppliers across the country. Notably, the chain faced legal action from US Foods, alleging a debt exceeding $11 million.