Chipotle Forks Out Over $3 Million in Seattle Labor Violation Case

A settlement over 2017 labor violation allegations has been reached between Chipotle, Seattle-based employees, and the Office of Labor Standards.

Chipotle Under Fire

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The international fast food chain company Chipotle Mexican Grill has agreed to pay $2.9 million to Seattle restaurant employees in a recent settlement over alleged labor violations. 

Announced by the Office of Labor Standards

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An official announcement came on Thursday via the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS), which declared that an agreement had been made between the company and representatives of nearly 2000 employees.

1,853 Employees Involved

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The settlement will be split between 1,853 employees who work in eight different Seattle Chipotle restaurants. An additional $7,308 will be paid to the City of Seattle. 

Serious Accusations

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Chipotle was accused of violating significant city labor standards, including both violations of shift changes and sick time regulations. 

Beginning in July 2017

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The allegations and investigations date back to July 2017. Multiple Chipotle employees came forward to accuse the company of failing to provide sufficient pay for compulsory schedule changes and failing to keep records of work shifts. 

Accused of Retaliation

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Chipotle was also accused of retaliating against an employee who could not accommodate schedule changes due to clashes with their second job, and who declined shift changes with less than 14 days’ notice. 

Filed With the OLS

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There were also allegations of retaliation toward employees who called in sick. These employees went on to file complaints with the Seattle OLS. 

Violating Two City Ordinances

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If true, these allegations would violate two city ordinances, including the Secure Scheduling Ordinance (SSO) and the Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) ordinances. 

Employee Shift Requirements

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The SSO requires that all compulsory schedule changes must be made 14 days in advance, allowing employees to decline last-minute shift requests. And requires a paid premium for shift changes.

Paid Leave

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The PSST dictates the amount of paid leave that employers like Chipotle must provide. 

Restitution for Damages

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Aside from the employee settlement, the extra $7,308 payment to the City will be made as restitution for damages. It also serves as an extra reminder of the consequences for corporations that violate city labor standards.

Formal SSO Policy for Chipotle

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Chipotle will also be required to create and issue a formal written Secure Scheduling Ordinance policy for all employees, explaining protections around shifts for employees. 

Corporate Affairs Officer Speaks

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Laurie Schalow, the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Chipotle, issued a formal statement responding to the settlement, and explaining new policies and initiatives that had been introduced.

Compliance Initiative Implemented

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“We have implemented a number of compliance initiatives, including adding new and improved time-keeping technology to help our restaurants,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to promote the goals of predictable scheduling and access to work hours for those who want them.” 

A Huge Victory for Seattle Workers

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It’s a significant victory for Seattle workers, pushing forward an ongoing movement for workers’ rights, protections, and fair treatment in the city. It is the largest SSO settlement since the ordinance was introduced in 2017. 

Food Industry Looks to Benefit

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Food workers in particular look to benefit from the settlement. According to the Seattle Times, the Washington food industry experiences reports the most wage thefts of all state industries.

“The Norm, Not the Exception

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Steven Marchese, the OLS director, issued a news release celebrating the settlement on behalf of the OLS. “Ensuring workers’ rights, such as secure schedules and paid sick and safe time without the fear of retaliation, should be the norm, not the exception,” he said.

“We Believe in Fundamental Fairness”

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“We believe in fundamental fairness in Seattle and that includes accountability when a large corporation such as Chipotle does not follow our labor standards and causes harm to their workers,” Marchese continued. 

Workplace Safety for All

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One anonymous employee involved in the settlement included a statement in the OLS announcement, writing: “This case proved that workplace safety and equality should be accessible to everyone, regardless of our backgrounds, financial status, or job description.” 

Encouragement for Others

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“I hope that this case will encourage individuals who have faced adverse circumstances to speak up, knowing that there are laws and standards in place to safeguard their rights and well-being,” they continued.

The post – Chipotle Forks Out Over $3 Million in Seattle Labor Violation Case – first appeared on Wealthy Living.

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