- A class action lawsuit filed by thousands of New Jersey Chipotle workers alleges that the fast casual chain illegally deprived them of overtime pay, Gothamist reports.
- The lead plaintiff says Chipotle converted the employees from salaried to hourly workers with overtime benefits on the eve of changes to the FLSA overtime rule. But after an injunction against the changes was sustained by a federal judge, Chipotle allegedly reversed course, cancelling its decision to offer overtime pay in an email to employees.
- Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that last year's injunction did not actually stay the date of the overtime rule's implementation (Dec. 1), nor did the ruling prevent the rule from actually going into effect. A Chipotle spokesperson told Gothamist that the company is "compliant" with current law.
This is exactly what HR Dive pondered back when Judge Amos Mazzant ruled on the overtime rule in November. What happens to workers who were promised overtime pay by employers who thought the rule changes would pass through the courts unscathed?
What is perhaps unexpected, however, is that Chipotle employees are seeking a legal argument for keeping overtime benefits as a result of employer adjustments in response to the rule changes — not the ethical argument of retaining any base wage increases due to those changes.
Indeed, the idea that the Obama administration's edits to FLSA overtime law are at all in effect is something most employment law experts did not consider. Since last year, the real concern about those changes, especially considering the stance of a Republican-controlled White House and Congress, was how close those rules were to being wiped off the slate entirely.
But for now, the argument that the overtime rule changes are still in effect is an argument, and only that. Observers await the New Jersey Supreme Court's hearing of the case at this time.