Chipotle takes on $20 million settlement for violating employees rights


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Alejandro Teodoro, Staff Writer

13,000 of New York City’s Chipotle Mexican Grill employees have been compensated a total of $20 million as the corporation was found in violation of the workers’ rights to sick leave and for scheduling violations after a case in April 2021 discovered the corporation broke New York City’s Fair Workweek Law.

The New York City’s Fair Workweek Law requires employers to schedule workers 14 days in advance with notice and to pay premiums when employees take on another shift less than 11 hours after their last. They also require large employers like Chipotle to pay 56 hours of paid leave each year.

NYC employees who worked at Chipotle anytime between Nov. 26, 2017 and April 30, 2022 are encouraged to file an online complaint or call 311 to get compensation of $50 a week for every week worked during that time. The corporation is also paying $1 million in civil penalties in the largest fair workweek settlement nationwide and the largest worker protection settlement in the history of New York City, the mayor’s office stated.

160 Chipotle employees filed complaints in 2018 with the 32BJ branch of the Service Employees International Union for Chipotle’s labor practices. An investigation was eventually led by the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection in Brooklyn for possible violations. Investigations expanded throughout the city causing them to examine a total of 600,000 alleged violations. They found that workers were scheduled at random times without adequate notice, working shifts less than 11 hours after a previous shift without premium pay, denied available shifts to current employees before they hired new employees and were not allowed to use their paid sick leave.

Throughout their findings, they also discovered false documents of “waivers” created by Chipotle to prevent giving their employees premium pay for the unexpected scheduling systems workers experienced. In total, investigators found that workers were owed over $150 million in fair scheduling relief. The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection examined the details and filed a lawsuit against Chipotle in April 2021 after multiple violations over the years.

The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection was aware of this issue in 2017 and found 6,500 Chipotle employees affected by the scheduling and sick leave violations. Investigators noticed that more than three scheduling violations were committed a week and gave Chipotle a lawsuit from 2017 to 2019, claiming that they attempted to comply with the law but consistently broke it, leading the settlement to grow to $20 million this year.

They were also given a $1.4 million fine in Massachusetts in 2020 for working children over 48 hours a week from 2015 to 2019. Chipotle also agreed to pay $7.75 million in New Jersey for breaking child labor laws again on Sep. 20, 2022, for the abuse that existed from 2017 to 2020.