- Chipotle has agreed to a $322,400 settlement with Washington, D.C., to resolve child labor law violations, Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb said in a statement. The fast casual chain will also adopt a comprehensive training and workplace compliance plan.
- Chipotle, which operates 20 restaurants in the District, allegedly “failed to abide by legal caps on the number of hours minors are allowed to work” in hundreds of instances, the attorney general’s office said.
- The attorney general’s office began investigating violations of labor law in May 2022 after receiving reports from other jurisdictions where the chain violated state labor laws. For example, Chipotle agreed to a $7.75 million settlement in New Jersey last year for similar violations.
Because Chipotle owns and operates all of its units, rather than work with franchisees, corporate is often on the hook when labor violations occur at its stores.
In addition to monetary penalties, the fast causal chain agreed to follow the District’s labor laws. This includes prohibiting minors from working after 10 p.m.; working over eight hours in one day or over 48 hours in one week; and working over six straight days in a week.
Chipotle will also provide “sufficient and documented training within six months of their hire or promotion” to all apprentices and general managers, according to the attorney general’s office.
Managers will also need to provide all employed minors with a copy of the District’s child labor law policies to ensure that both the manager, who will also review these stipulations, and the employee understand the laws and Chipotle’s policy.
“We applaud young people who take the initiative to work in addition to going to school. But the law limits the hours they can work to ensure they are healthy, well-rested, and able to fulfill their responsibilities as students and to their families,” Schwalb said in a statement.
Chipotle believes that hiring employees as young as 16 provides young workers with good career experience and opportunities for growth within the workplace, Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs officer, in wrote in an email to Restaurant Dive.
“We have reached a settlement with the Washington, D.C. Office of the Attorney General for the events dating back to 2020, and have implemented an enhanced labor scheduling program in our restaurants, creating a more efficient, consistent and compliant environment,” Schalow said.
Schalow also highlighted the various benefits that the company provides its employees, including debt-free degrees, tuition reimbursement up to $5,250 per year, mental healthcare, financial planning tools and the opportunity for quarterly bonuses, among other perks.
This year, Chipotle agreed to pay $240,000 to settle a National Labor Relations Board violation in Maine regarding the closure of a unit that planned to unionize. In April, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander filed a shareholder lawsuit on behalf of the city’s pension fund urging Chipotle to adopt the International Labor Organization’s standards on freedom of association and collective bargaining.