NYC Chipotle employees receive $20 million payout after city settlement

The Chipotle Mexican Grill fast-food franchise will pay about $20 million to about 13,000 city employees who have been victims of violations of their right to predictable hours and paid sick leave under city laws on the fair work week and on paid sick and safety leave,” Mayor Eric Adams announced. Tuesday.

The settlement payment, which also includes Chipotle paying $1 million in civil penalties, is the result of a multi-year investigation by the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) into complaints filed by 160 Chipotle employees and by the 32BJ SEIU union.

The DCWP investigation revealed major violations of laws that affected all Chipotle employees in New York. The settlement with Chipotle is the largest nationwide fair workweek settlement and the largest worker protection settlement in New York history.

“Restaurants and fast food outlets are a vital part of our economy and our daily lives here in New York, but they cannot exist without the hard workers who cook, serve and deliver our food,” Mayor Adams said. . “Today’s settlement with Chipotle is not only a victory for workers by securing up to $20 million in relief for approximately 13,000 workers, but also sends a strong message, as the largest worker protection regulations in New York City history, which we will not support when workers’ rights are violated. I thank 32BJ SEIU for helping to uncover these violations and the Department of Consumer Protection and workers for obtaining justice for these workers.

Under the agreement, anyone who has worked for Chipotle in an hourly position in New York will receive $50 for each week worked from November 26, 2017 through April 30, 2022. For example, an employee who has worked for Chipotle continuously for a year and a half (78 weeks) will receive $3,900. Employees who worked at Chipotle on April 30, 2022 will receive a check in the mail along with a letter explaining how their amount was calculated.

Former Chipotle employees must file a claim to receive payment. Former employees, whose employment ended before April 30, 2022, will receive a notice by mail, email and SMS containing information on the amount of money they will receive, how the amount was calculated and how to file a complaint online or by mail. .

In 2018, DCWP opened an investigation into Chipotle’s compliance with the Fair Work Week and paid sick and safety leave laws at Brooklyn locations after receiving complaints from fast food workers. In 2019, following the survey, DCWP has filed a lawsuit against Chipotle to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings for violating the Fair Work Week Act at these locations. In April 2021, after discovering significant new information about violations across New York City, the DCWP expanded the case against Chipotle to include locations throughout the city.

Under the Fair Work Week Actfast food employers in New York must give workers regular hours, work schedules 14 days in advance that are consistent with the regular schedule, a bonus for schedule changes, the ability to refuse to working overtime and the opportunity to work newly available shifts before hiring new workers.

Fast food employers also cannot schedule a “closed” shift unless the worker consents in writing and receives a $100 bonus for working the shift. Additionally, fast food employers cannot fire or reduce a worker’s hours by more than 15% without cause or a legitimate business reason. The necessary “Rights of NYC fast food workersmust be posted in any language that is the primary language of at least five percent of workers in a workplace if available on the DCWP website.

Chipotle restaurant manager Scott Boatwright said the company is pleased to be able to resolve the issues and that the settlement demonstrates Chipotle’s commitment to providing opportunities for all of its workers while complying with the Fair Workweek Act. .

“We have set up a number of compliance initiatives, including additional management resources and new and improved time tracking technology, to help our restaurants and we look forward to continuing to promote the goals of predictable schedules and access to work for those who want it,” Boatwright said.

Under the Paid Sick and Safety Leave Act, all New York City employers must provide sick and safety leave for employees. Covered employees are entitled to use sick and security leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member and to seek assistance from legal and social services or take medical other security measures if the employee or a family member may be the victim of an act or threat of domestic violence or unwanted sexual touching, harassment or human trafficking.

Since the Paid Safety and Sick Leave Act came into force in April 2014, the DCWP has received over 2,663 paid safety and sick time complaints, closed over 2,337 investigations and obtained resolutions requiring more than $16.8 million in combined fines and restitution for more than 44,873 workers, not including the compensation employees will receive under this agreement.

Workers can complain online or call 311 if they believe their rights have been violated. Complaints can be filed anonymously. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who have filed complaints.