Chipotle Mexican Grill faces labor lawsuit from NYC


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M’Niyah Lynn

New York City sued Chipotle Mexican Grill chains for violating labor, scheduling and sick leave laws, which have affected all of Chipotle’s New York City employees.

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection sued Chipotle for several violations of the Fair Workweek Law, which mandates that workers be given 14 day advance notice of schedules or else they must receive extra pay. Additionally, workers have to have certain time allotted for breaks during shifts.

“Since we first filed our case against Chipotle we have unfortunately learned that those initial charges were just the tip of the iceberg,” Department Commissioner Lorelei Salas said, according to Business Insider.

Also, Chipotle violated Paid Safe & Sick Leave Law from when it was passed in 2014 through at least January 2020, The Hill reported. Chipotle is accused of only giving 24 hours of paid sick time instead of 40 hours, and if employees couldn’t find replacements to take their shifts, they would be punished.

“In my time at [the 185 Montague Street] Chipotle store, I saw the company violate not one, but all the tenets of the Fair Workweek Law,” former Chipotle worker Steve Vidal said, according to a press release from the city.

As a result of Chipotle’s violations, employees worked extra shifts without time off, and the employer would hire new employees to work available shifts instead of current ones.

The violations come with a $200 to $500 fine per employee, per instance for each violation, as well as separate civil penalties, The Hill reported. In total, workers are owed more than $150 million over the violation of practices between November 2017 and September 2019.

Chipotle attempted to follow the laws after 2019, but the violations are said to still be occurring.

“Chipotle must immediately stop their unfair labor practices and put their employees above profit,” Mayor Bill De Blasio said, according to the release.

This is the largest complaint that’s ever been brought by the city under law. However, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Chipotle Laurie Schalow told Business Insider that the proceedings filed by DCWP are “a dramatic overreach” and that the company will “vigorously defend itself.”

It’s also important to note that Chipotle has a history of lawsuits and harmful reputation incidents.

In 2015 and 2016, Chipotle was accused of allegedly serving food items that made people sick, some of the cases from E. coli bacteria.

Also in 2020, Chipotle was fined about $1.4 million because of accusations that it frequently violated Massachusetts child labor laws from 2015 to 2019, The New York Times reported.

“Chipotle remains committed to its employees and their right to a fair, just, and humane work environment that provides opportunities to all,” Schalow said.