Chipotle and New Jersey reach $7.75 million child labor deal
- Chipotle and the New Jersey Department of Labor have agreed to a $7.75 million settlement resolving more than 30,000 alleged labor law violations affecting minors, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday.
- NJDOL alleged that Chipotle violated various laws governing child labor, according to the Sept. 15 settlement. The settlement, however, does not constitute “an admission by Chipotle of any wrongful or illegal act whatsoever.”
- Chipotle has faced several lawsuits over working conditions in recent years, and disgruntled employees at two Chipotle sites filed union elections with the National Labor Relations Board earlier this year.
Overview of the dive:
The New Jersey audit of the company’s employment practices alleged that Chipotle violated rules requiring managers to give underage workers 30-minute meal breaks for every five hours worked and failed to keep appropriate records for employed minors. The state also alleged that Chipotle violated bans on working between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., bans on working more than eight hours a day, bans on working more than 40 hours a week, and bans on working more six consecutive days.
Upon payment of the settlement, NJDOL will provide Chipotle with a release for all claims related to child labor and earned sick leave laws, including unknown claims, between August 28, 2017 and September 15, 2022.
For three years after the settlement, Chipotle will be required to provide NJDOL with a self-verification of hours worked by underage employees. *The state will not impose penalties for child labor law violations as long as the percentage of shifts worked by children who violate the law falls below certain thresholds: 10% underage shifts the first year, 7% the second and 3% in the third year. The company will also appoint a child labor compliance officer and continue to use a shift scheduling system that alerts managers to workers who are legally underage.
NJDOL touted the settlement as a step toward state-corporate cooperation in enforcing child labor laws.
“It’s good business to treat all workers, especially minors, fairly and in accordance with the law,” New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “There is no excuse for any company, especially a large, profitable company with prior violations, to continually deny young employees their workplace rights.”
Laurie Schalow, director of general affairs at Chipotle, said in a statement emailed to Restaurant Dive that the company “has implemented an enhanced work scheduling program in our restaurants, creating a more efficient, consistent and compliant”.
Chipotle has been the subject of regulatory scrutiny and labor activism in recent months. In March, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Chipotle for sexual harassment in Washington. In New York, where the company is facing a massive campaign by the Service Employee’s International Union, Chipotle has agreed to a $20 million settlement in a lawsuit over alleged violations of the city’s privacy law. fair work week last month. In late August, workers at a Chipotle in Michigan voted to join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters after the chain closed a unionized store in Maine.