The US Department of Labor ordered a North Carolina restaurant to pay workers who were paid in chicken meals instead of money.

The restaurant sparked criticism after it posted a now- deleted message on its public Facebook page in July that appeared to ask people to work for food instead of money

A Facebook post Facebook Screenshot

We are looking for people to help out with our new Express. The post said that they would earn 5 free hours per shift. Please let us know about the details.

The post was deleted by the afternoon of the 27th.

The company previously said that it did not endorse the program and did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

Most restaurants are individually owned and operated, and it was a program at an individual restaurant, according to a Chick-Fil-A spokesman. Insider didn't get a response from the franchise owner about the most recent fine or the July incident.

The restaurant was ordered by the Labor Department to pay $235 in back wages to seven employees who worked at the restaurant. The Labor Department said it was a violation of the fair labor standards act to have the workers do it.

Wage and Hour Division Director Richard Blaylock said in a statement that employers are responsible to pay workers for all of the hours worked.

The restaurant in North Carolina owes $6,450 in civil penalties for child labor violations. The restaurant allowed three children to operate a trash compactor.

Teenagers have historically been used to staff fast-food locations. The Fair Labor Standards Act governs what jobs can be done and which hours can be worked by workers under 18.

The Department of Labor has pursued a number of child labor cases in fast food in recent months. In early December, a Pennsylvania McDonald's franchisee was fined over $60,000 for violations.

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