State Watch

New York City sues Chipotle, alleging ‘Fair Workweek’ violations

Chipotle, Food Safety, Closure
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New York City officials are seeking more than $1 million in a lawsuit filed against Chipotle that alleges the fast food chain violated “nearly every aspect” of the city’s “Fair Workweek” law. 

The lawsuit, filed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas, seeks more than $1 million in combined fines and restitution for more than 2,600 workers, according to a Tuesday announcement. {mosads}

De Blasio is also a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary. 

But Chipotle claims it complies with all pertinent laws and called the city’s charges “unnecessary.”

The city said Chipotle failed to provide good faith estimates of work schedules and schedules two weeks in advance, failed to get consent and pay premiums for last-minute schedule changes, and failed to offer newly available shifts to current employees. 

The city said more than 30 workers from five different Chipotle locations in Brooklyn have filed complaints with DCWP over violations of the “Fair Workweek” law, and the department is investigating 11 Chipotle locations in Manhattan for similar alleged violations. 

Steve Vidal, a former Chipotle employee at the Montague Street location, said in the city’s release that he saw the company “violate not one, but all the tenets of the Fair Workweek Law.” 

Chipotle, however, said it is committed to “complying with all laws, rules and regulations pertinent to our business.”

“With respect to the Fair Workweek Law, Chipotle has been working cooperatively with the city to ensure we have systems and processes in place to comply with the law, so we believe the filing of charges was unnecessary. Regardless, we will continue to cooperate with the city and we are addressing any prior noncompliance concerns,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The city said the law is in place to encourage a pathway to stable, full-time employment for fast food workers. 

“No corporation can get away with blatantly violating the rights of New York City workers without consequences. Chipotle must immediately stop their unfair labor practices and put their employees above profit,” de Blasio said in a statement. 

“This case exemplifies the abusive practices that this law is intended to end, and Chipotle must come into compliance. I encourage all fast food workers to come forward if their right to a predictable schedule or new shift is being violated,” Salas added.

–Updated at 12:42 p.m.

Tags Bill de Blasio Chipotle Fast-food restaurants labor laws Lorelei Salas

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