A California Popeyes restaurant has closed its doors following complaints from teenage employees accusing the franchise of violating state child labor laws.
According to The Washington Post, a strike was initiated by workers outside the Oakland store on Thursday. Protesters assembled and cited grievances over minor employees being asked to skip school for work shifts lasting beyond 11 p.m.
During the protest, Johmara Romero, a 17-year-old cashier, openly shared her personal encounter at the establishment. Romero says she has faced an underwhelming academic performance due to her demanding work schedule.
“One time I worked until 11p.m. on a school night, and I was late for school the next morning, because I overslept,” Romero wrote in a statement. “One time they called me into work at noon on a school day, even though school goes until 2:30 pm, because they were short-staffed, so I skipped school that day.”
She continued, “I started falling behind, I wouldn’t be able to get enough sleep. I would get frustrated, I don’t like falling behind in school. I would wonder if I would graduate because of my grades.”
After receiving the claims, Popeyes took action by shutting down the store and launching an investigation into the complaints that were filed with the California labor department.
The company didn’t give an immediate response to the investigation but said a thorough investigation into the franchise is in progress.
“We will not tolerate any violation of employment laws. And if any of these allegations prove true. We will take action against this franchisee.”
Nevertheless, California’s labor laws say individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from working for more than four hours on a school day. They’re also not permitted to work beyond 11 p.m.