Chipotle is one of those companies that has enjoyed a “halo.” It has earned points with some consumers for its commitment to organic and locally-sourced food and sustainable practices.
That halo took a hit late last year when the company had to close a number of stores while it tracked down the source of a multi-state E. coli outbreak. With that issue finally resolved, Chipotle may have another issue to contend with.
Thousands of present and former Chopotle employees are reportedly suing the company for alleged wage theft. CNN reports nearly 10,000 workers have filed forms to join a class action lawsuit, Turner vs. Chipotle, claiming they routinely had to work for no pay.
For its part, Chipotle has told the network that it has not done anything wrong and has paid all employees the wages to which they were due.
Working 'off the clock'
But CNN interviewed several former Chipotle employees who claimed they often worked “off the clock.” The complaint alleges that employees routinely punched out when their shift officially ended, then were required to stay and work until the task was completed. The suit says it normally affected the closing crew, whose members often had to stay late to clean up if customers were in the restaurant up until closing time.
Wage theft claims against fast food restaurants are not that uncommon. In May, the state of New York sued Dominoes, claiming the pizza franchise underpaid employees at 10 of its stores in the state.
“At some point, a company has to take responsibility for its actions and for its workers’ well-being,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said at the time. “We’ve found rampant wage violations at Domino’s franchise stores. And, as our suit alleges, we’ve discovered that Domino’s headquarters was intensely involved in store operations, and even caused many of these violations.”