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Chipotle to pay $20 million settlement over violating city work laws

After years of investigation, the city has alleged that the restaurant chain has committed numerous violations of scheduling and paid sick leave laws.

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Following allegations of workplace protection law violations and a lawsuit against fast-food chain Chipotle, the restaurant company has agreed to pay a settlement of $20 million to 13,000 current and former employees across New York City.

These allegations state that since the Fair Workweek Law’s enactment in 2017, multiple Chipotle restaurants across the city failed to follow the law. Violations listed include providing adequate advance notice for their shifts, compensating them for working without advance notice, and a multitude of other violations.

"Restaurants and fast food outlets are a critical part of our economy and our daily life here in New York City, but they cannot exist without the hard-working people who are cooking and serving and delivering our food," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. 

"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 settlement in New York City history, that we won't stand by when workers' rights are violated. I thank 32BJ SEIU for helping uncover these violations and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for getting justice for these workers," he continued.

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) originally filed a complaint with the city, beginning a four-year investigation. Original estimates of what Chipotle owed their workers for scheduling violations alone reached over $150 million, the settlement is a far cry from the original estimate, with worker advocates expecting the total payout to have been much higher.

Last April, the city alleged that they had found “systematic failures to comply” with scheduling laws, reporting the company had committed 600,000 violations across nearly 90 locations from 2017 to 2019.

The settlement will provide $50 for each worker that worked a week in between November 2017 to April 2022. Workers who completed the full 78 weeks of work should expect to receive $3,900.

Chipotle Chief Restaurant Officer Scott Boatwright made a statement Tuesday about the settlement.

“We are pleased to be able to resolve these issues and believe this settlement demonstrates Chipotle’s commitment to providing opportunities for all of our team members while also complying with the Fair Workweek law,” he said.

Alongside the settlement, the city will make Chipotle pay $3.4 million in fines and restitution under scheduling law, and nearly $17 million in fines and restitution under sick leave law. Neither fine is included in the settlement.

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