Chipotle has recently reached a settlement with New York City regarding the restaurant chain’s predictable schedule and sick leave violations. New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYC officials announced on Tuesday, August 9, that Chipotle would pay $20 million to nearly 13,000 employees and $1 million in civil penalties.
According to the mayor’s office, this is the largest fair workweek settlement in the United States and the largest worker protection settlement in New York City history.
This settlement will affect employees who worked an hourly position for Chipotle between November 26, 2017, and April 30, 2022. These employees can receive $50 for each week worked during this period. While current employees will be sent checks, former employees who left the company before April 30 must file a claim to receive this compensation.
The investigation of Chiptole’s labor practices began in 2018 following 160 employees and the 32BJ Service Employees International Union filing complaints. The investigation showed that Chipotle had violated New York City’s Fair Workweek Law and its Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law. While investigations initially began at the restaurant’s Brooklyn locations, it was expanded to locations throughout New York City in 2021.
New York City’s Fair Workweek Law and Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law
Under New York City’s Fair Workweek Law, which went into effect in 2017, fast food workers have a right to predictable work schedules, as well as the opportunity to pick up more hours before new employees are hired, and an allotment between $10-$75 for each change to a scheduled shift made less than 14 days before the first day on that work schedule.
Some of the rights that the Fair Workweek Law provides to retail workers include:
- Providing 72 hours’ notice of work schedules.
- No on-call or call-in shifts. The “call-in pay” provision of the New York State Labor Law requires employers to pay employees a minimum payment if they’re sent home early.
- Workers may say no to working additional time with less than 72 hours’ notice before the start of a shift. If they do say yes, their consent is needed in writing.
- Generally, employers can’t cancel or reduce an employee’s hours by more than 15 minutes less than 72 hours before a shift.
According to the investigation, Chipotle failed to provide employees with their schedules 14 days in advance, which is a right fast food workers have under the Fair Workweek Law. Other Workweek Law violations found include:
- Requiring employees to work extra without getting their written consent.
- Failing to pay schedule change premiums, which are between $10-$75 for each change to a scheduled shift made less than 14 days before the first day on that work schedule.
- Requiring employees to work “clopening” shifts, which is working back-to-back closing and opening shifts with less than 11 hours between the shifts without paying the $100 premium for the shift.
- Failing to available shifts to current employees before hiring new employees.
Under the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, which went into effect in 2014, all employers in NYC must provide safe and sick leave. The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection found that Chipotle violated this law by failing to allow employees to use accrued safe and sick leave.
Protect Your Employee Rights with Brown Kwon & Lam
Unfortunately, many employees in New York City have the workplace rights they’re entitled to violated by their employers. At Brown Kwon & Lam, we’re dedicated to protecting the rights of NYC employees. Whether it’s a wage and hour violation, discrimination, retaliation, or another violation, we have the experience you need.
If you’ve experienced an employee rights violation, don’t hesitate to contact us.