New Jersey shutters 27 Boston Market restaurants over unpaid wages, related worker issues

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — State labor officials have temporarily shut down more than two dozen Boston Market restaurants in New Jersey after finding multiple violations of workers’ rights, including more than $600,000 in back wages owed to 314 employees.

A stop-work order was issued Tuesday by the Department of Labor against 27 restaurants across New Jersey. The state also imposed nearly $2.6 million in penalties against the firm.

The Associated Press sent an email seeking comment to Boston Market’s corporate office in Golden, Colorado, on Thursday. There are 31 Boston Market restaurants in New Jersey and 310 nationwide, according to its website.

The company has requested a hearing challenging the state’s findings, labor officials said, but a hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

State officials say the investigation began in November, when a worker at a restaurant in Mercer County filed a complaint with the labor department. Since then, nearly three dozen additional complaints have been received naming several Boston Market locations in New Jersey.

The labor department’s initial findings included citations for unpaid or late payment of wages, hindering the investigation, failure to pay minimum wage, records violations and failure to pay earned sick leave.